Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Bad Example !!

Jet airways announced today that it will reinstate all of the 1900 employees it laid off 2 days back. A victory for people?? Sure many political parties share that opinion and are lining up to take the credit for making this happen. Of course, chairman Naresh Goyal claimed that this decision of his, is not forced by anyone but his empathy but after 3 days of high drama going on every TV channel & news paper, the damage is already done. Let's just revisit the sequence of events and ponder for a while, what does it mean for us.

Aviation industry is going through the crisis having huge losses. Jet announces an alliance with Kingfisher to help them cut their operational cost to stay in business. The next day they decide to lay off about 1900 employee from their 10000+ workforce; in a cost cutting exercise. The employees are shattered & turn to local politicians for solace. So, the most emphatic one (read Raj Thackeray) decides to do something about it and the best way to do it is to threaten Jet Airways of holding their flights in & out of Mumbai unless they reinstate the employees. For two days media has a field day sensationalizing every aspect of this drama. Civil aviation minister Mr. Prafful Patel analyzes the situation with Jet Airways and then surprisingly chairman Mr. Naresh Goyal announces reinstatement for all those were laid off. Political parties make a beeline to clog the limelight & claiming to the saviour of mankind.

So, now what does it tell us. It tells to those poor employees & their family members that God and our politicians are very kind and Jet Airways (or any industry) is evil to have put them in a bad situation in the first place. It tells to the general public that our generous political leaders will go to any length to get them out of their troubles, provided they get their fair share of lime light. Finally and most importantly, it tells to the industries and investors, planning to invest in India, that it's really difficult to do business in this country.

Every industry has to lay off their employees at some point for cost cutting, consolidation or mere restructuring of their business if things are not going as they should. Most obvious case in India is with IT companies. Last year had been very difficult for them and they had to let go thousands of their employees to remain in the business. Interestingly the s/w industry, away from any union culture, took it well and no body seemed to have faced extinction. But now after this episode will it be the same again? Just imagine that after so many US banking giants shutting shops, thousands of employees in the BPO sector might just be waiting to be axed anytime. If that happens, won't they be in deep trouble as well. Then what better than repeating the Jet exercise again. All it takes to gather a few people, big enough to get the attention & then approach our new age leaders. Who will be more than happy to help them as it earns them a populist image, but forgetting that they are sacrificing larger interest of nation here.

Companies who have the right to fire their employees if they feel it's necessary, providing the compensation according the employment contract, can't fire them anymore. In this case there are high chances they will become incompetent, loose a lot of money & may go out of business. So, this episode creates a whole new threat to corporate India, especially after the lynching of Lalit K Choudhary in a lay off dispute and the whole world is watching carefully. If these kinds of behavior become prevalent or acceptable, I am afraid this will be a major setback for the growth of our country, because we will lack a conductive business atmosphere.

So, I just wish that this episode becomes just a chapter in our black book and doesn't become a trend. Another bad example well set by our leaders & us.


Pappul 10/19/08, 7:51 PM  

This is one of many problems that plague our country ... unfortunately its a whole melee of dumb people serenading their wares ... the politicians are dumb coz they just need to get into the Lok/Vidhan Sabha at the cost of the country's well being ... the people of the country are dumb since they just want money and a stable life ... completely ignoring the basics that go into running a business ... and lastly The conglomerates ... by being forced to do something that hampers their own growth prospects ... but thats the sad state of affairs in our country ... i know its very easy to blabber about such things ... but then everyone is happy accepting these things as long as there is no personal harm to them ... Cheers ... !!

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