I was discussing with union committee members about unnecessary breaks, workers were taking for tea and breakfast. It was a practice for last 20 years in the company. If it is a long practice, then it is a custom and you can not break the customs.
It was affecting the productivity. The breaks would last almost 15-25 minutes. They were taking their breakfast and snacks in canteen. The newly formed joint venture management was very concern about the cost and productivity. They gave the mandate to stop the breaks and continue the operations during breaks also. But as usual union was not ready for this. What’s about our hunger? Million dollar question!
“You want to kill us by not allowing to take breaks.” One of the committee members blasted on me. “Cool, we don’t want to kill you. You take your breakfast and snacks, but not in canteen. I will arrange to supply it on shop floor.” Have you seen in the world, where union members easily agreed on the proposal of management? They also didn’t. The discussion went on and on.
I again called them for the discussion. They also recognized that they can’t pull it long time. “Ok, agreed, then, give us this all free.”
I reported it to my CEO. He was very good human being and humble man. He told,”Ok, we will supply it free of cost. How much they will eat?”
“Sir, don’t do it, we will face another issue. Let’s not give anything free.” I explained why we should not give it free. At last I suggested, “Sir at least we will supply limited snacks and tea”. “Don’t worry, how much the person can eat? They will be bored with unlimited food.”
Next day, as per the agreement with union, I put the notice of stopping breaks for snacks and tea. “Workmen will not go to the canteen for their snacks; the same will be supplied to the shop floor. The operations of the machine should not be affected and production should continue uninterrupted.”
Next morning, Shetty, our canteen contractor was waiting for me. He was worried. “Sir, they are not human beings.”
“What’s happened?” I asked.
“They are neither ghost, ghosts don’t eat so much”. Shetty replied.
I understood the problem.
“One missal with four Paav, 2 Idalis, 4 eggs, one plate Farsan, 4 biscuits, 2 teas, sir all this per workman.”
From that day workmen stopped taking lunch or their regular meal. We all were worried not only due to the additional cost of snacks, but for their health.
After six months we concluded it will not work, no it should not work. Again one round of discussion with union members started. This time the discussion was for supplying limited snacks on shop floor.
"Nothing comes free in this world. Before taking any decision, understand your workforce better."