Location Risk Monitoring

All India Trade Union Strike: How to Minimize the Impact of a Wide Spread Shutdown

Written by Lakshmi Nair

The country-wide strike in India on Thursday, September 3rd paralyzed the nation for an entire day, causing severe inconvenience to local people and companies. Public transport was completely shut down with buses and autos partaking in the protest, leaving commuters stranded on the streets.

The workers on strike were from the banking, manufacturing, construction and coal mining sectors. The trade unions claimed that the reforms planned by the Indian government are expected to put jobs at risk, and demand to scrap changes that would make it easier to lay off workers and shut down unproductive factories. The protest was marked as the largest one in over 2 years, with 150 million people participating in it.

Strikes and protests are quite common in countries with such a vast population. Often time, organized demonstrations, including this occurrence, are announced ahead of time, which allows businesses to plan ahead and limit impact to operations. It is the organizations’ duty to make sure that their employees are safe and any interruptions to operations related to the strike do not affect their delivery standards.

There are several measures that can be taken to ensure day-to-day operations are not affected by strikes and other demonstrations:

  1. Considering that more than half of the Indian population rely on public transportation to commute to work, it is necessary to offer acceptable alternative means of transportation to affected employees, such as cabs/shuttle services from the company so that they make it to their offices on time. If it is not necessary for employees be present at workstations, they can also be provided the option of work from home, ensuring safety as well as meeting routine operational needs.
  2. Strikes in India generally tend to follow a timing which can be used as an advantage as employees can be given early logins to avoid unnecessary hassles.
  3. Knowing the intensity and history of such strikes in the country, the possibility of violence is very high. In such a case, security should be increased to ensure employee safety. It is possible that a person might enter the premises under a false pretext only to disrupt operations. Security personnel should be advised to conduct strict identity checks to avoid troublemakers from entering campus.

No location is risk free; success of a company comes from understanding the risks, applying proactive measures and evaluating the negatives and positives. It is necessary to gain perspective on the important factors such as availability of labor, talent pool, and cost metrics, and balance it with the possibility of certain risks that are a part of every location. A successful global company will have assessed all aspects and mitigated these to incorporate an effective risk management program to sustain reputable business standards.

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