The Tata Group is livid that remarks made by its chairman Ratan Tata about the need to change British work culture have been “taken out of context” and published a full two months after he made them – and a day after the Tatas announced 1,500 job losses in Britain.
“We wish to make clear The Times claims that Mr Tata said British managers were ‘lazy’ is misrepresentation,” a Tata Sons spokesperson said. “At no stage in the interview did Mr Tata make this comment.”
The comments have created a stir in a country that is trying to overcome the effects of its deepest recession since the 1930s while facing half a million public sector job losses. Some Labour MPs and union bosses have tried to defend the UK record, but criticism of Ratan Tata has been muted, showing there is silent agreement.
The Sunday Times in an editorial titled ‘A message from India: Work harder, or die’, said, “Mr Tata was giving voice to a phenomenon that many in business are well aware of…The country should note Mr Tata’s comments and take action.”
Ratan Tata’s views resonate strongly with Indian businesses. “Here I am sitting on a Sunday, sending work-related emails, but with many of my British colleagues there’s no chance they will check or send official emails or even pick up the phone,” a businesswoman said.