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Raj (india) Limited

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XLRI, Jamshedpur        Pranabesh Ray

RAJ (INDIA) LIMITED

Mr. Shiv Chakravarthy, Managing Director of Raj (India) Limited, was sitting in his office in Bombay on 8 July 1978 and was pondering over the telephone call he had received the previous night from Mr. Ravee. Plant Manager at Belgaum.  Mr. Ravee had informed him that a lockout had been declared in the Plant.  He took out a report prepared by Mr. Ravee, which listed the events that led to the lockout.

Mr. Chakravarthy read:

29 December 1977: Raj Employees' Union submitted its charter of demands, terminating the previous settlement, and requesting management to come out with their general proposals at an early date so as to bring about an amicable settlement and continued industrial peace.

21 April 1978: Raj's management made its offer to the union's charter of demands.  The offer was made orally to the union general secretary Mr. Deepankar, who promised to give his reaction after careful study.

22 April 1978: The General Secretary called a meeting of executive body and informed them of the company's offer and the discussions he had with the management.  Mr. Sanjeeb, a supervisor in the packaging department and a member of the union objected to the company's offer as he felt that it did not increase wages and perquisites as desired.

24 April 1978: Workers of the Packaging Department of the Company started to "go-slow."

26 April 1978: Agitation spread to other sections also.  Meanwhile, the head of the Packaging Department noticed sharp decrease in packages made as a result of "go-slow" and informed the Plant Manager.  The Plant Manager immediately summoned Mr. Deepankar, the General Secretary of the Union, and told him this, Mr. Deepankar stated that he was unaware of the fact, and promised to look into the matter.

27 April 1978: The Plant Manager called four representatives of the managing committee of the union working in the packaging department.  They were ignorant of the adopted "go-slow." The "go-slow" phenomenon continued until 2nd May 1978. The management issued show cause notices to the defaulters for `slowing down' their work.

2  May 1978: Union office-bearers were called by the Plant Manager.  Some office bearers, including the general secretary of the union, informed the management of their resignation.  Management issued a notice to the workmen to withdraw agitation failing which disciplinary action may be taken.  It also issued individual show cause notice to the workmen involved in the  "go-slow."

3 May 1978: "Go-slow" withdrawn and normalcy restored.

7 May 1978:  Mr. Sanjeeb was elected the new union general secretary.

The resolutions passed at the union meeting were handed over to the management.

 (i)        If the management takes action against charge-sheeted workmen, who had already replied, to the charges, the union will give a call to workmen to "Work-to-rule"

(ii)        By May 20, the management has to act on their charter of demands presented on 29 December 1977, failing which the union will proceed with legal action from 22 May 1978.

9 May 1978: Management informed about the union resolutions,

19 May 1978: the management for discussions invited the new office bearers of the union.  In the meeting the management took the view that,

a)        Threats, i.e. goslow, demonstration etc should be avoided.

b)        The management's offer made on 21 April 1978 should be discussed further to find a solution.

c)        An atmosphere conducive to discussion should be established.

d)        It was against company policy to negotiate with management personnel (Mr. Sanjeeb) about workers' demands. However, the company was prepared to negotiate with the entire executive committee.

The union demanded an immediate written offer from the management and to negotiate with Mr. Sanjeeb, the newly elected general secretary of the union.  The union rejected the management’s offer of joint reference.  The management appealed to the union to avoid agitations and requested the office bearers of the union to meet again to continue discussions.  The meeting lasted 3 1/2 hours.

22 May 1978: Workmen in the packaging department reported late for work.  Management cautioned the concerned workmen by serving show-cause notice.  A meeting of the union was held outside the plant entrance and the union leaders made speeches.  Management approached the Civil Court to prevent such activities within the plant premises.

23 May 1978: Some workmen in the Liquid & Ointment, and Encapsulation departments also reported late for work.

24 May 1978: The management served notices to the concerned workmen for coming late on the previous day.  In keeping with practice these workmen had earlier been verbally instructed, but that was not complied with.  The written notices were also not accepted.  Then through general notice boards, the management notified the workers to resume normal production immediately, failing which disciplinary action would be taken.

25 May 1978: The Civil Court. Belgaum, granted injunction to the company workers prohibiting the holding of meetings and carrying out demonstrations, shouting of slogans, etc. within 100 metres of the company gates.

27 May 1978: Some workmen in the Engineering Department reported late for work, in addition to others in Packaging, Encapsulation and Liquid & Ointment Departments.  The Company put up a notice cautioning the concerned workmen.

30 May 1978: The management dismissed 13 workman of the Packaging Department for their actions.

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