Oct 15, 2008

Jet Airways lays off 1900 employees

Over the last one and half decade the middle class of India has been one of the most ardent supporters of liberalisation and economic freedom that the PV Narasimha Rao government with the then Finance Minister (and current PM) Dr. Manmohan Singh  started off in India.

The public of India has benefited greatly, as productivity gains and competition opened a plethora of choices to them. Civil aviation was one of the sectors, which was opened up, and the government carrier Indian Airlines was assaulted by competition.

One of the stars was Jet Airways, which had much superior service and in many cases much better aircraft than Indian Airlines.

However, the civil aviation sector was among the first sectors of India to feel the cost of rising fuel prices and the current economic slowdown. Jet yesterday struck up an alliance (critics referring to it as a duopoly) with rival private airlines Kingfisher to cut costs and pool resources.

However when today news came in that Jet had laid-off 1900 employees (including ground and cabin crew) with more possible in the near future, it was greeted by shock.

The shock was due to the fact that only months ago Airline Training Academies in India were promising lots and lots of jobs (like this managed by Kingfisher itself), and many people looked forward to that as a great career option.

So while the shock and dismay may be understandable, it really does not make sense to address political parties or the government to help them save their jobs. What next, ask political parties to intervene when one doesn't get a pay hike or a promotion? Thankfully the government minister is choosing not to fish in troubled waters.

If people want a secure government job until retirement, they should join Indian Airlines.

However, certain employees allege that they have been laid off without the promised notice period or pay , then that's a major HR fiasco by Jet. It could have been handled in a much better and human way and not violated the rules in any way, as Sanjay says .

P.S. Note that trust and loyalty are at an all time low , not just in India, but in other parts of the world too.