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Why Indian workers community has to Condemn Narayana Murthy 72 hours work per week Statement?
Mr Narayana Murthy has been condemned by Unions and Employees community but not Indian HR community for his antiworker statement.
We expect HR community to raise their voice against 72 hours work per week Statement?
Will HR community speak for workers or Capitalists ?


How realistic is working 70 hours a week?

ARC: Working 14 hours a day for five days, or 11.5 for six days, doesnít account for travel, which may add another two hours. The latest Periodic Labour Force Survey data indicate a significant work hours gap between genders. This is wider in rural areas, probably due to womenís additional unpaid care work. Overall, in urban and rural areas, 5.5 hours daily versus menís 41 minutes. Increasing work hours will inherently bias the market against women. Indiaís female labour force participation is already one of the lowest in South Asia. Moreover, research indicates diminishing returns for extended work hours.

AN: I agree that workers shouldnít be pushed beyond legal work hours. Research underscores the importance of a work-life balance, mental health, and physical exercise. Moreover, work hour averages vary by industry. For example, in the U.S., which is service-dominated, leisure and hospitality average around 25 hours weekly, whereas manufacturing is about 45 hours. In South Korea, the disparity is greater; transport and food services may reach 75 hours, while education is around 40. This shows that development stages and industry sectors ó service or manufacturing ó impact these averages. China, during its 1990 to 2012 manufacturing- and export-focused phase, saw increased work hours with negative outcomes. So, Iím not advocating that. Iím just saying itís crucial to consider a countryís economic drivers and industry when evaluating work hours.

From India, Chennai
Dinesh Divekar

Dear member,

In October 2023 Mr NR Narayana Murthy said that to improve productivity, Indians should work for 70 hours per week (not 72 hours as you have mentioned). Though there was an uproar over his statement he defended it in January 2024.

Mr Murthy is a self-made tycoon. He did not inherit his company but raised it from scratch. From an ordinary company, he made his company, Infosys, a dream company for the employees and also for the job seekers. In the industrial scenario, where the caste played a major role in doing business, he showed the world that to take the company to greater heights, one need not boast of having a business in one's DNA. To make Infosys an IT bellwether, he and his team toiled hard. Growing a company by maintaining strict ethical standards was no easy task. But he and his team did it.

When he gave his first statement about working 70 hours per week to improve the productivity of the company and also at the national level, it attracted criticism because people argued that productivity does not depend on working for long. Secondly, he was an employer and he was an employer and he tried projecting his personality onto the employees. Thirdly and more importantly, when celebrities like Mr Murthy give statements, it becomes an endorsement. The governments take their views seriously. Persons of the stature of Mr Murthy are expected to be circumspect and not take a pole's position.

Notwithstanding the criticism, a few months later, Mr Murthy reiterated his stand on the 70-hour workweek.

There was a grapevine that probably the Union government shot from the shoulders of Mr Murthy. The government wanted to bring legislation to increase the work hours per week. Through Mr Murthy, the government tested the waters. But considering the hue and cry his statement made, the government kept the proposal in the cold storage.

You wish the HR professionals had condemned the Mr Mruthy. While in the individual capacity, the HR professionals might have agreed or disagreed with the views of Mr Murthy, but their collective voice through bodies like NHRD, NIPM etc was silent. But then these bodies remain silent anyway on rampant violation of the labour laws and one cannot expect them to be vocal only when some tycoon gives a statement.

In an individual capacity also, the HR functionaries are as powerless as any other functionary. HR professionals admit that professionals from other disciplines like Marketing, Finance or Technical have an edge over them. In many big companies, the HR departments are symbolic. Do HR professionals not know about prevailing unfair business practices or violations of the labour laws in their company? They know it but to save their skin, they look at the other side.

What they do individually, they do it collectively also. Not just for the working hours, but these HR bodies have not come up with the model HR practices in any other disciplines of HR. This is because Indian businesses still follow an autocratic leadership style. At the early stage of their career HR professionals understand that sanity lies in silence and they do so till the end of their career.

Yes, HR professionals should stand for the rights of the employees. But to do so they need to be empowered. Employee empowerment is a big joke in India. The less said about it the better!


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

The statement made by Narayana Murthy advocating for a 72-hour workweek has sparked controversy and condemnation from various quarters, including workers' unions and employees. It's essential to understand the reasons behind this condemnation and the potential roles of different stakeholders, including the HR community.

Worker Rights and Well-being:
The primary concern with advocating for such long work hours is the potential impact on worker well-being and rights. A 72-hour workweek is not only physically exhausting but also detrimental to mental health, work-life balance, and overall quality of life. Workers deserve reasonable hours and conditions that allow them to lead healthy and fulfilling lives outside of work.

Labour Laws and Regulations:
In India, have labour laws and regulations in place to protect workers' rights, including limitations on working hours, overtime pay, and mandatory rest periods. Advocating for a 72-hour workweek goes against these established norms and may undermine the progress made in ensuring fair labor practices.

Role of HR Community:
The HR community plays a crucial role in advocating for both the interests of workers and the goals of the organization. While HR professionals are often seen as representatives of management or the employer, their ultimate responsibility lies in fostering a healthy and productive work environment that respects the rights and well-being of employees.

Balancing Interests:
It's important to note that the HR community is not monolithic. Different HR professionals may have varying perspectives on issues such as work hours and labour rights. However, a core principle of HR is to balance the interests of the organization with those of its employees. Therefore, the HR community should critically evaluate statements like Narayana Murthy's and consider their implications for employee welfare and organizational success.

Advocacy and Dialogue:
The condemnation of Narayana Murthy's statement by workers' unions and employees underscores the importance of advocacy for worker rights. HR professionals can contribute to this dialogue by engaging with both employees and management to ensure that policies and practices align with ethical standards and legal requirements.

Ultimately, the HR community should prioritize the well-being and rights of workers while also considering the broader goals and needs of the organization. This may involve speaking out against statements or practices that undermine worker rights, including advocating for more reasonable work hours and conditions.


From India, Bangalore

The same Narayan Murthy had earlier said that it is meaningless and unproductive people sitting in the office beyond the scheduled 8 hours....!!!
From India, Kannur

He may better ask British prime minister to introduce 72 hour work week in UK for native workers.
From India, Thiruvananthapuram

The 72 hours working per week is running well in disguise in industries. The opinion of Mr Narayana Murthy may have aimed to make it official. The reaction by condemned by Unions is similar to Elephant's Teeth. As on date Trade Unions have not done anything good for the Employees Community, rather created class of workmen. As on date there is hardly parity in wages paid to different class of workmen, which is not only bad but plunging the working class in ditch. The Indian HR community is nothing but puppet in the hand of the Industrial community, they just follow the Yes Boss technique nothing to do with all these.
Your expectation is worth less to hope from HR community, to raise their voice against 72 hours work per week or any other statement. The truth is that the HR community can't speak for workers but definitely speak for the Employers, because he is not a separate entity but an employed class.

From India, Mumbai

The issue raised by the much reverred Narayana Murthy has been misinterpreted and given a totally wrong colour. First of all he didn't mean it for all the workmen, he had limited it to the young people of the country. He said it in the context of leading India to be a Developed Nation in the next decade. We can very well continue to do organisational activities in the way it has been, and be contented to be a less developed nation or a developing nation for all the times to come. Importantly, he was not desiring it for the manufacturing sector or the service sector where the labour laws have put definite limits. He never said to change the weekly limit of 48 hours in those sector. In the IT/software sector, particularly those working in MNCs the 8 hour work norm has no relevance as regular working hours of the company and that of the eurpean or US customers are totally at variance. If we have to do business and be the backyard for their office operations our timings have to suit them, otherwise we have to be contented with the small earnings here.
The proposal of 72 hours work week is to be seen with regard to our national aspirations and should leave aside the rhetoric and the fusillade of irrelavant criticisms levelled in all social fora.
Speaking at a personal level, I want to assert that I have worked for a very long period (more than two decades) daily clocking around 12 hours on 6 days of the week and around 4 hours on weekends. Didn't tire me or exhaust me. I also know so many professionals, doctors, advocates, engineers, architects, managerial personnel slog for 14-16 hours every day and they feel happy about it and enjoy it.
As an HR man, one has to go by the law on the subject and exceeding the statutory limits would be troublesome and there is no place for entertaining such thoughts. In a start up and in
unorganised sector, the statutory norms on working condition are breached regularly.

From India, Mumbai

Speaking at a personal level, I want to assert that I have worked for a very long period (more than two decades) daily clocking around 12 hours on 6 days of the week and around 4 hours on weekends. Didn't tire me or exhaust me. I also know so many professionals, doctors, advocates, engineers, architects, managerial personnel slog for 14-16 hours every day and they feel happy about it and enjoy it. //

Is it a forced communication for Employees community to accept 14-16 hours for 8 hours pay.
Why Employees are exploited by such expectations.
If an employee is working 14-16 hours, Another job creation is shunned and Capitalists are taking salary of 1 person granted.

Its time for Corporates to pay taxes like common man and Employees instead of getting tax soaps in SEZ/STPS

- Voip IT union

From India, Chennai
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