Strikes are a company’s worst nightmare. Look after your people in bad times & they’ll return the favour when the tide reverses

All the Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi addicts heaved a sigh of relief when on 19th November the industry workers called off their strike. Federation of Western Cine Employees (FWICE) had called for the strike demanding higher wages, better work conditions, and more. As a result, TV channels were forced to begin repeat telecasts of various shows. Of course, not everyone heaved a sigh of relief. Some wished that the strike would go on forever, as they had just about started sharing some family time. And then TV was back! Whatever the feelings – a strike is not one of the best things to happen. It hurts everyone – workers, company and customers. Yet, incidences of strikes and lockouts abound in corporate history.

Paradise Found, Paradise Lost

If there is one place where many dream of working, it’s in a Ferrari factory. It’s ‘Paradise Found’ for many when they get recruited by Ferrari. The ‘Great Place to Work Institute’ named Ferrari as the Best Place to work in Europe 2007. The company worked hard to win this accolade. It built the ‘Maranello Village’ and revitalised all facilities in and around the factory and spent close to €200 million. However, just because you spend your day at the ‘Maranello’ crafting F430s, 599s and your heart swells with pride as you hear the engines roar and watch the beauty come to life, doesn’t means all’s well. It was in 2007 itself (the year Ferrari was voted the best place to work in Europe), that Ferrari workers went on a strike! ‘Paradise Lost’ for the management probably! The reason for the strike was unusual. The workers felt unhappy with the fact that the quality of Ferraris was declining since Fiat was trying to make too many of them, and it was not possible to maintain the necessary quality standards. Of course, among other things, the workers also wanted higher bonuses. But this was a strike with a difference. It had a unique style. The workers would only strike on Saturdays and that too not all of them at one time! Their aim was not to disrupt production, but to just slow it down a bit and make the management see their point of view.

Even Japanese workers had a similar style. A strike in a Japanese shoe factory saw workers making shoes for the left foot only. They never stopped work, but only after the management understood their point of view and solved the problem did they start making the right foot shoe. The best part was that it was a win-win deal. No production hours or man-hours were lost and worker’s demands were fulfilled. However, strikes like these happen only when there is “passion” in workers; and when they take pride in the company they work for. It is only then that they strike not to hurt but to be heard!    Read More....

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