Contract Labor at Regency Hospital: Legal and HR Dynamics

Case Solution

Anjana Nath, Debi S. Saini
University of Hong Kong ()

This case highlights the diverse complexity of employment of agency workers by primary employers (PEs) in the Indian context, including sensitivities in dealing with the contract workers union. The Regency Hospital (RH), a chain of corporate hospitals in India, acquired Gedex Hospital (GH) in 2005 along with the temporary workers employed there. In 1983, GH management decided to hire contract workers to perform its support services, such as home maintenance, etc. Two years later, some of GH’s contract workers became members of the Gedex All Employees Union. GH recognized the labor relations (IR) problems and decided to include them in its permanent functions. Later, other GH contract workers formally became union members, but GH refused to give in to their durability demands. These workers continued to work in GH and later in HR with various contractors; because they were well-trained hospital workers. When HR acquired GH in 2005, some of the contract workers were doing the same work as regular HR employees and continued to work that way. In October 2015, all contract reproductive health workers went on strike. Their demands included wage increases and their inclusion in the basic reproductive health workforce. RH argued that this was simply an obligation of the relevant contractor who hired them. The HR human resources manager contacted the local police, who ultimately helped calm these contract workers, prompting their agitation to be withdrawn. Meanwhile, the management has increased some minor benefits for them by the contractor, but they have not been granted any material relief. RH thought about what measures should be taken and how to avoid similarly complex situations from recurring. He also considered the work environment that should be available to outsourced workers in order to encourage their commitment and also to avoid possible legal failures on their part in dealing with outsourced labor issues.

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