Rakesh was working as a Joint Commissioner in Transport department of a city. As a part of his job profile, among others, he was entrusted with the task of overseeing the control and functioning of City Transport Department. A case strike by drivers’ union of City Transport Department over the issue of compensation to a driver who died on duty while driving the bus came up before him for decision in the matter. He gathered that the driver (deceased) was plying Bus No. 528 which passed through busy and congested roads of the city. It so happened that near an intersection on the way, there was an accident involving the a middle-aged man. It was found that there was altercation between the driver and the car driver. Heated arguments between them led to fight and the driver gave him a a blow. Lot of passerbys had gathered and tried to intervene but without success. Eventually, both of them were badly injured and profusely bleeding and were taken to the nearby hospital. The driver succumbed to the injuries and could not be saved. The middle-aged driver’s condition was also critical but after a day, he recovered and was discharged. Police had immediately come to the spot and FIR was registered. Police investigation revealed that the quarrel in was started by the bus driver and he had resorted to physical violence. There exchange of blows between them. The City Transport Department management is considering of not giving any extra compensation to the driver’s (deceased) family. The family is very aggrieved. depressed and agitated against the discriminatory and non-sympathetic approach of the City Transport Department management. The bus driver (deceased) was 52 years of age, was survived by his wife and two school-college going daughters. He was the sole earner of the family. The City Transport Department workers’ union took up this case and when found no favourable response from the management, decided to go on strike. The union’s demand was two fold. First was full extra compensation as given to other drivers who died on duty and secondly employment to one family member. The strike has continued for 10 days and the deadlock remains. [2022]

(a) What are the options available to Rakesh to meet the above situation?
(b) Critically examine each of the options identified by Rakesh
(c) What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by Rakesh?
(d) What course of action would Rakesh adopt to diffuse the above situation?

(a) Some options available to Rakesh to address the situation include:

  • Seeking mediation or arbitration to resolve the dispute between the City Transport Department and the union
  • Negotiating a settlement with the union, including offering additional compensation or employment to a family member of the deceased driver
  • Seeking legal recourse to challenge the strike or the union’s demands
  • Consulting with other stakeholders, such as the police or the city government, to find a solution

(b) Each of these options should be critically examined by Rakesh to determine their feasibility, potential risks and benefits, and any legal or ethical implications. For example, seeking mediation or arbitration may be a constructive way to resolve the dispute, but it may also be costly and time-consuming. Negotiating a settlement with the union may be more efficient, but it may also require Rakesh to make concessions that the City Transport Department is unwilling or unable to make. Seeking legal recourse could potentially resolve the issue, but it may also lead to further conflict and negative public perception of the City Transport Department. Consulting with other stakeholders may be helpful in finding a solution, but it may also increase the complexity of the situation and require Rakesh to navigate multiple competing interests.

(c) Some ethical dilemmas being faced by Rakesh include:

  • Balancing the rights and interests of the City Transport Department with those of the union and the family of the deceased driver
  • Deciding whether to prioritize the needs of the City Transport Department or the demands of the union
  • Determining the appropriate level of compensation or other benefits to offer to the family of the deceased driver
  • Managing the potential impacts of the strike on the city’s transportation system and the general public

(d) To diffuse the situation, Rakesh may consider adopting a course of action that involves seeking mediation or arbitration to resolve the dispute, negotiating a settlement with the union that addresses the union’s demands while also taking into account the needs and limitations of the City Transport Department, and consulting with other stakeholders to ensure that all relevant perspectives are considered. Rakesh may also consider offering additional support or assistance to the family of the deceased driver to help them cope with the loss and alleviate their financial hardship.

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