Jet Airways

We now interrupt our current run of TV-blogging to abuse everyone involved in the Jet Airways fashla.

Jet Airways

What the hell went wrong? What were they thinking when they fired people overnight? The only possible answers are colossal stupidity or desperation.

Desperation – we know that they haven’t been paying their fuel bills for a while. And with eight months of running losses, banks were refusing to provide working capital. And with the financial crisis on, raising long term capital looks practically impossible. They’re bleeding cash, and firing their newest employees probably seemed like the quickest way to staunch the flow.

Colossal stupidity – is a stereotype that usually goes well with HR departments and senior managements. But in this case, it looks like they really weren’t thinking the consequences through. They now have Raj Thackeray, the CPI(M), and news channels baying for their blood. That will probably pass, but they’ve lost their reputation as a good employer. When the business cycle improves, they’ll have to deal with not being an employer of choice. (That assumes they’ll survive until then.)

Back in the last recession, there were a bunch of IT companies which made their layoffs/ salary cutbacks as painless as possible and got written up as case studies. I think Mindtree was one of them. Jet Airways didn’t learn. (But then Ajay Shah has written that nobody in India even understands that business cycles exist and a recession will eventually come along…)

Jet Airways Employees

OK, being told in the morning that you’re fired and you shouldn’t show up for work is definitely a shock. More so, if it happens to 1900 of your colleagues simultaneously. But if their sob stories are true and they are sole breadwinners who have taken out home loans and are worried about how they’ll pay their EMIs, then I have to say that they were idiots. They were on probation. They knew that they’d been hired for a one year period before being confirmed. They knew that house prices were higher than ever before. They knew that they were employed by an airline that was losing money and that job security apart, salary increases were probably not coming soon. And knowing this… they went into debt. FSM preserve them.

Hopefully, the ones shouting on TV about their EMIs were a small minority who the news channels picked to add to the drama.

News Channels

Dear news channels. This is not the largest layoff in India in the recent past. Banks have been shutting down their associated consumer finance/ small business loan NBFCs left right and centre over the past year, and the total layoffs in these have been much higher.

This is merely the largest layoff in India of attractive young people who speak good English. Please insert the appropriate disclaimers. And stop trying to project the temporary plight of young middle class Indians who are otherwise employable as the end of the world. Okay?

The CPI(M)

The CPI(M) is pretty much complicit in bringing Jet Airways to this state. All of last year, they sat in the way of price hikes for petrol, diesel and kerosene. So the oil marketing companies raised the prices of air fuel instead in an attempt to survive. And now Jet Airways is bankrupt and has to sack employees to survive. After this, Nilotpal Basu has the gall to go on TV and say that the CPI(M) won’t allow Jet Airways to operate from Kolkata.

Also, demanding reinstatement? Firing employees isn’t pleasant, but at least it does stem the cash outflow a little. If Jet Airways kept them on, then it would keep losing money until it couldn’t even pay the confirmed employees, who’d been on the payrolls longer. The CPI(M) seems more concerned about a thousand jobs today than twenty thousand jobs next year (and CEOs get abused for thinking in the short term!). (Related reading here.) Either the CPI(M) is (shock! gasp!) a run-of-the-mill political party, concerned only about the next election; or it doesn’t understand reality. Or both.

Oscar Fernandes

Because when he was asked for a soundbite, he smiled and said that he didn’t know anything because he had been at a junket labour ministers’ conference in Bali.

Praful Patel

OK, no abusing Praful Patel. Because he’s actually refused to bail anybody out, pointed out that this is to do with ATF prices, and has generally not played to the gallery.

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6 Responses to Jet Airways

  1. CupLord says:

    My Vote: Stupidity. Its obvious that in the near future, KF will also do the same thing with their employees. However, they will handle it with the regular flair that Mallya brings in to such events. Remember the almost non-existant media coverage when KF laid off 300 employees recently:http://www.business-standard.com/india/storypage.php?autono=335106….

  2. Dibyo says:

    I’m waiting for the News Channels to lay off some of that trash. Actually, some of those news channels need to be laid off.

  3. P Prasad says:

    All those guys and girls shouting at the top of their voices after being sacked by Jet Airways — would you not now sack you domestic helps — cooks, washerworman, gardeners etc without giving prior notice as revenge for what your employers did to you? And would the same TV channels be then benevolent enough to air the laments of your domestic helps?

  4. Vivek says:

    And Raj Thackeray?! – you gotta have smth to say abt him..
    it was the most ironic-moronic scene in recent times – ‘north indian and north-east indian’ girls, who in nobody’s books qualify as Marati Manoos seeking help from the same politician – whom in all probability they abused sitting in a pub in mumbai 6 mths ago – who wanted them all kicked out of Mumbai,is gonna ensure that they’re in the same plane when it flies out of Mumbai! – LOL!
    I cant even begin to imagine the multi-layered,multi-faceted humor-drama this has become.

  5. Vivek says:

    Oh sweet lord – they’ve all just been reinstated. Good for them, but honestly WTF?!

    Lose your job, dial 1-800- MNS.

  6. Tom says:

    I have just one thing here to comment on what is written as that some Indian IT companies like Mindtree have retained their employees by employing methods like paycuts etc and got themself registered in various case studies… Well, are people really sure that this had happened actually…

    Because according to me.. what these companies like Mindtree etc are doing is what I would term is “silent firing”… Which means that the employees are still fired almost at the same rate with an excuse that their performance is down when however the company has recruited people and is not able to give them projects and also is not very keen on reskilling them on some different technology so after a wait of few months just fire a slot of employees which even the exisiting employees of the company never come to know…

    If somebody would like to question my understanding of this silent firing then can somebody ask companies like Mindtree as when their utilization of employees is not 100% how come they are not having any bench strength.. Where do the employee go once he is no longer in a project and becomes redundant for the company…. Just by not coming in the news never means that firing never happened at these companies… Stop giving wrong stats please…..

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