” Duty is God ; Work is Worship ” – March 21, 2021.

A 38 year old former employee of the Mercedes factory in Vitoria city, Spain, with his longstanding grudge against the management drove a wheel loader and destroyed nearly 50 finished vehicles parked and kept ready to be delivered. The damage caused was estimated at $ 6 million. It was a gunshot fired into the air by a security guard that stopped his deadly action and got him arrested by the Police. Authorities cite that as, ” work related revenge attack”. It was also learnt that he damaged nearly 70 vehicles while on course to bring the wheel loader to the factory.

John D Rockefeller, the Standard Oil giant, U. S. A. displayed the beneficent and beautiful side of his personality ( contrary to the general description of him being ungodly to his workers who were made to endure low wages, dangerous conditions, miserable housing, and persistent debt) during a strike by his workers in a refinery, which became a revolt and finally a flare-up nearly uncontrolled. Rockefeller invited the Employee leaders for a discussion. His metamorphosis as a grace endowed negotiator was stunning but his facundity in the talks erased all the repulsive impressions that employees held until that moment. Those who wanted him hanged finally embraced him with reverence. They also vowed to make good the losses incurred by working harder than ever. It made them forget the wage rise they were seeking and made them report for work the very next day. What was the secret of this transformation? It was the conciliatory approach to the problem with a clear understanding of the situation ; an astute grip on possible solutions ; and the realisation of the future impact that effectively got the workers tied to the task of restoring work efficiently.

What happened in Kolar District, Karnataka, on Sunday, December 13, 2020, will remind everyone about at least the two incidents briefly narrated above.

Narsapura Industrial Estate is the proud holder of the famous “Winstron” factory which makes supplementary parts for the famed IT trio of Apple, Microsoft, and Lenova. With its HQ in Taiwan, the factory with an investment of Rs 3000 crores is one of the 16 software manufacturers that the Indian Government has recognised.

On that fateful day, the factory was damaged by the employees (themselves) at 5.30 a.m. inflicting losses estimated at 437 crores.

Unions generally take pride in the fact that, ” factories and employees” constitute the ‘Two Pillars’ of economic growth.

The employees of Winstron have engaged in this destructive act for their perceptions of poor salaries and salaries not paid in the last four months.

What has happened can be described succinctly as the confrontation between the two Pillars with one Pillar bringing the other Pillar to Ashes. Employees brought down the factory.

About 8000 people were employed in this factory. It worked in two shifts. About 1400 are directly recruited with others employed on contract basis.

Their main grievances are : (a) Salary not paid for four months ; (b) instead of the 8 hour work schedule imposition of a 14 hour work schedule ; (c) not being paid for the extra work time ; (d) not providing necessary amenities for women workers ; and (e) providing food of poor quality.

Despite making several representations, the management did not pay heed to their grievances.

Result : Widespread anger and their felt need to find a way to express their pent up anger. It made them take to weapons and allying themselves with anti social elements in the society.

“Anger destroys and ruins oneself ” said Bharatiyar, the great Tamil Poet, and if only the workers had reminded themselves of this during that fateful moment .. .. “Winstron” would have retained its fame and glory.

Union leaders justify their acts citing the following : First, reduction in wages ; An engineer’s salary of Rs 21000/- per month has been reduced to Rs 16000/- and then further down to Rs 12000/-. A worker holding a Diploma found his salary reduced from Rs 11000/- to Rs 5000/-. Even this was not credited to their accounts on the scheduled dates.

So on Sunday, December 13, 2020, at 5.30 a.m. about 428 employees combining with anti social elements set fire to the factory causing serious disruption and damages.

Same is the case with the struggle and scuffle due to the Farmers’ Protest in Delhi. That they have damaged more than 1500 cell towers cannot be easily forgotten and forgiven even if their demands are met tomorrow. The cost of damage is enormous and the cost of restoration will not only be enormous but time consuming too.

” The spiritual weapon of employees is Marxism; and the Employee is Marxism’s physical weapon” – the adage that was forgotten causing the loss. Karl Mark also said : ” the sweat and toil of workers is the biggest investment of the owners (capitalists).” That very same investment has been brought to Ashes on this day in December.

COVID-19 had presented serious challenges to factories and companies. Many factories closed last year still remain closed. Instead of feeling happy that “Winstron” has been functioning at least in two shifts, engaging in such destructive actions is not justifiable by any argument.

After damaging vehicles costing Rs 60 lakhs ; iPhone costing Rs 15 crores ; CCTVs and Refrigerators costing about Rs 10 crores ; and damaging other amenities besides the tangible treasures of reputation, job potential, and progress ; from where and from what will the employees comfort themselves in future poses a mystery.

The cause of the catastrophic results lies in the forgetfulness of the workers to the famous dictum : ” Work is God”.

” Dieu avec nous ”

Sunday, March 21, 2021 – 10.37 a.m.(IST)

Tidbit : ” God is working in everybody’s life, right now in ways one doesn’t understand “.

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