Friday, October 17, 2008

Jet Airways Layoff episode

India is increasingly becoming a country where rule of law is fast losing its meaning. From instances of crowds taking law in their hands to lynch buffalo thieves to politicians forcing businessmen in returning legally obtained land, we have numerous instances where mobocracy , loud rhetorics and petty politics is ruling the roost by subverting the laws of land. We Indians are unique for creating systems which we our self then seek to dismantle for short term gains. One such example is Jet airways fiasco where around 1800 employees on probation were laid off by Jet Airways to cut cost on its bleeding operation. Agreed that, the way Jet management handled the whole laying off episode showed off their poor HR practices but what followed after that was equally bad.

First the laid off employees suddenly became socialist in their approach, very conveniently forgetting that until few hours back , they were willingly part of a system where risk is as much part of game as reward. Then they went even a step further and managed to politicize the whole matter by begging in front of MNS's Raj Thackeray. Other parties and sundry ministers then followed the suit and jumped into the bandwagon, until Jet Airways chairman had to do revert the decision and ask laid off employees to join the duty back. Quite obviously he was pressurized by Government and politicians to do this, though, he said that it was because of his conscience (suddenly awakened).

We know that global economy is facing unprecedented downturn, most of markets are melting down and big banks have fallen down like nine pins. Effect of global recession has started to show signs in India also. So in near future, many companies might have to tighten their belts and shed excess weight to stay afloat. And it is in this regard that Jet episode has created a bad precedence. Now we know that if some employees are laid off, all they have to do is organize dharna , call the media, cry on TV and tell sob stories of how their dreams were shattered and then approach opportunistic politicians to put pressure on management. Jet employees, for their own gains have setup a very bad example by involving Raj Thackeray. It is people like these employees, who ultimately give legitimacy to such politicians who feed on opportunities to further their own petty and short sighted gains. Nobody has asked who Raj Thackeray is to threaten a company to stop its flights from taking off until employees were taken back!! Wasn’t the company within laws to lay off employees on probation, and didn't these employees know that they could be removed while on probation!! Havent they signed contract for this while joining the company!! And by rushing to MNS, Jet employees have only fed a snake which one day could also bite them.

In future if aviation industry in India does not recover and Jet is forced to shut shop, then these 1800 employees of Jet can go back and join Government services where they can live off lesser rewards on lesser risks of being terminated. And as for Jet Airways, one has to wonder if this whole episode which in hindsight looks like a drama, was put up to get bailout package from Government!! Afterall, they could have done it better by laying off employees in smaller chunks and with more civility. And if the decision to lay off was driven by economic downturn, thun how has situation suddenly improved to take these employees back? So was this episode stage managed by someone in Jet or aviation industry? Would MNS force these Jet employees to learn Marathi now? We wouldnt know, but what we certainly know is that Aviation has some very pretty faces which we can see more frequently on morning newspapers.


Anonymous said...

Well said! Imagine one day Raj Thackeray gets motivated with his Marathi-people-get-employment-first drama and kicks the non marathi Jet employees out of Mumbai! I wonder who would these employees then go to? All a political gimmick! Suddenly Mr Goyal realised he's like a father of the Jet employees like Gandhiji is the father of our nation? I'm shocked he sweared by his mother that he wasn't informed of such a major decision!

Gaurav said...

@meenu Goyal ended up putting his foot in mouth.

As for as MNS is concerned, the least said the better. As we say in hindi "Ye log kisi ke nahin ho sakte"