Last week one news was there in India and that was the retrenchment of Jet employees. More than 800 temp and on probation employees of Jet airways were shown door while 1000 more such employees were in line next as per the company announcement. Whole nation went hysteric about this news. Media got good news bite and they tried their best to cash on the situation by showing sobbing faces, agitations and sympathetic stories of sacked employees. Personally my heart also goes out for the sacked employees and I strongly feel that sacking should be the last option any employer should use for the cost cutting. Finally after two days, Jet Airway’s chairman withdrew his decision of sacking following the voice of his concise. So in the end it was all well but personally I feel something fishy in whole episode.
1. Employees – Asset or Liability?
Just a couple of days before the sacking of employees, chairman of both Jet and Kingfisher had agreed to work together and cut down their operating costs collectively. After the agreement, Mr. Mallaya the chairman of Kingfisher had told media that the understanding between the two rival airlines will result in a net savings of around 1500 cr Indian rupee per annum. According to Jet airways sources, the sacking of the employees will mean the salary bill for company will reduce by around 5 cr Indian rupee per month which means 60 Cr Indian rupee per annum. Let’s add the perks and intangible benefits enjoyed by company employees to this figure still the cost cut will be well below 100 cr Indian rupee per annum. I agree it’s significant amount but I feel effort should have been made from Jet’s side to adjust this cost from the 1500 cr savings which they are going to make from Jet-Kingfisher alliance. But it seems like no such effort was made from Jet’s side. Jet’s action suggest that in corporate world money only rules and there is no place for human values. Still in corporate world employees are seen as cost and treated as liability rather than asset. I feel, most of the companies lay off the people without considering much of the alternates they have at their disposal. Many companies take proud about doing good for their employees during sunny days but as soon as tough time is around companies don’t think twice in handing the pink sleeps to their employees. When situation is inevitable one can understand such action from companies but I don’t think situations always demands sacking of employees.
2. Politics at it’s best
We Indians are very emotional people and politicians of our country best know how to exploit public’s emotions. After the sacking, sacked employees met MNS chief Raj Thackery. I was really surprised rather than going to CM or Home minister of the state people are directly going to Raj’s court. It seems like he is running the parallel government in Maharashtra. Raj is also clever and immediately started giving insane statements like if employees are not reinstated than all jet flights from Mumbai will be grounded. Who the hell this Raj Thackery is to make such statements. Shiv sena also wanted their share of pie from this episode, supported the cause of sacked employees and also gave some statements. Seems like no one considers Mr. Deshmukh the CM or Mr. Patil the home minister any more. Aviation minister of India Mr. Praful Patel was just feeling sorry in front of media for sacked employees and showing his helplessness in doing anything. But the height is the moment Jet’s chairman announces the reversal of the decision Mr. Patel is there to take the credit. He gave the statement that he persuaded Jet’s chairman for the reversal of the order. Isn’t it funny? One thing which caught my attention is that none of the left parties (who tries to be the massiha of the common man and labour unions in India) utter any words. So in short everyone tried to get mileage out of this episode in their own ways.
3. Whether the whole episode was a plot to put government under pressure?
Now a days everyday we hear about the news of recession in different different parts of the world. All the industries are going through the bad phase and aviation industry has been hurt the most because of the pick oil prices in recent times and fierce competition. Few days back in India, aviation industry has asked for bail out package from government of India but government rightly refused that. So I feel like the whole episode might be the plot to put government into the pressure and bargain something out of this episode. Aviation industry insiders may have thought that with general election not very far from now, UPA led central government definitely not like such things to happen and it may blink under pressure. So this can also be one possibility.
4. I feel Jet’s action was not timed and planned out properly
Another thing which comes to my mind is Jet did the things hastily. Giving a pink sleep to employees is not a new thing world wide and even in India but this activity should be planned out properly. Just few days back I had read that Kingfisher also sacked around 300 employees. But at that time things went unnoticed. But when you sack almost 1000 – 2000 people in one go, it will definitely raise the eyebrow. Also the decision about the sacking was not informed to the employees in proper way. According to the media reports some employees find out about their sacking while they were waiting for their company buses, some find out during training, some find out through their friends etc. So it was a utter chaos in handling this sensitive matter. Also, proper compensation was not given to the sacked employees so that also raised the anger.
So all n all, high drama surrounded the whole matter but satisfying thing was everything fall in place at the end of it. The whole episode reminds me the fact that still the tug of war between the Capitalism and Socialism thinking is there and it is here to stay.
P.S. : The ideas expressed above solely belongs to me. Facts and figures provided here is based on what I have read from the TOI and other trusted news agency reports.
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