Work: The Great Bombay Textile Strike, BSE 'criers' silenced, and more

Sep 15, 2013, 09:37 IST | SUNDAY MiD DAY Team

In section one of our 32nd anniversary special, we look back at the momentous occasions and events that have given shape to the Mumbai we know today

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1982: Bombay’s mill workers call for strike
On January 18, 2.5 lakh mill workers from 50 mills across the city call for a strike, referred to as the Great Bombay Textile Strike. It is headed by trade union leader Dutta Samant. The workers unite to fight for annual bonus and better wages. The Great Bombay Textile Strike changes the way the city works forever. Over 80 mills shut in the city and at least more than 1,50,000 workers are left unemployed. In August 1982, apparently in sympathy with the mill workers, the city police briefly strikes work. As a result, the Border Security Force has to be called in to control the unrest. In 2006, the Supreme Court rules in favour of sale of hundreds of acres of land occupied by the mills -- which amounts up to almost 285 acres.

Dutta Samant
Dutta Samant leads the Great Bombay Textile Strike. File Photo

1995: BSE ‘criers’ silent
Entire operations and dealings at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) are fully computerised. The out-cry system of share trading (where employed men would shout out rate and stock prices at the top of their voice to warn traders [pic: right]) is replaced by screen-based trading as in other modern stock exchanges around the world.

1995: India gets first woman fire fighter
Harshini Kanhekar becomes India’s first woman fire fighter in January 1995. She is the first female student to get admission in the fire engineering course at the National Fire Service College in Nagpur. Kanhekar is first posted in Gujarat and, in 2012, she shifts to Mumbai.

2007: First cop takes paternity leave
Vinay Kargaonkar becomes the first Mumbai cop to go on paternity leave in November 2007. Kargaonkar, a 1990-batch IPS officer, goes on a month-long leave after their second baby. In 1997, the Fifth Pay Commission enhances the ceiling of 90 days of maternity leave to 135 days and also introduces 15 days of paternity leave for central government employees (men).

Then & Now

Prasenjit Bhattacharya, CEO, Great Place To Work

‘In future, 9-5 work culture will be passe’

Work cultures and attitudes have changed drastically over the past 30 years, and the most important shift I observe is that of the talent market becoming as important as the market of customers. We are diversifying -- sectors such as telecom and BPOs didn’t even exist some decades ago -- and the supply and demand have changed. Thirty years ago, we were a ‘No vacancy’ generation. Today, we are a ‘We are hiring’ and ‘Walk-in interviews’ generation.

The biggest shift, however, is one in the mindsets of managers. Erstwhile managers assumed that authority deserves respectat all cost. Today, subordinates have Google to turn to for the information only seniors could provide at a point in time. Self-expression was denied, and few disagreed with their bosses. Those days are long gone.

The older generation sacrificed its present for the future, but now, employees look for better work-life balance. They want to experience workplaces differently in organised sectors, and that’s why ergonomically-designed workspaces, free food in cafeteria and massages in offices are commonplace.

Many employers are more willing to share profits and recognition, too. Employees are kept abreast of the good and the bad. Earlier, employees learnt the bad news from newspapers -- now, organisations tell them first.

Today, the best places to work in are known for their managers, not owners. Managers are the new superstars, and owners who still insist on being part of the executive team have to be good managers. In the future, I see the 9-5 culture become passé. We may not have too many people on one organisation’s payroll — they will work for multiple companies. In fact, 40 per cent of the employees in the US are already doing that. 

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