October 16, 2008
We now interrupt our current run of TV-blogging to abuse everyone involved in the Jet Airways fashla.
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.
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) 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.
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.
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.
6 Comments | Business | Tagged: ajay shah, aviation, business cycle, cpi(m), debt, downsizing, EMI, hrd, hrm, Jet Airways, layoff, mindtree, mns, news channel, news cycle, nilotpal basu, oscar fernandes, praful patel, raj thackeray, recession | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
September 24, 2008
Raj Thackeray bitches about how bhaiyyas from the cow belt come to Mumbai, become cab drivers, and steal jobs from the Marathi Manoos. I’m not sure how he’ll react to this amazing story (TOI link. I’m sorry, but nobody else is carrying it). Here’s the summary:
- Shop assistant steals two kilos of gold from a Bangalore jeweller and decamps to Mumbai, intending to go further to Dubai and live a life of pleasure alone
- On getting off at Dadar, he gets into a cab being driven by a UP-wala
- Cabbie realises that shop assistant is new to Mumbai and drives him all over town with the meter running
- While in the cab, the thief tells the cabbie about his nefarious doings and his plans to move to Dubai
- Cabbie tells thief that he needs to get a passport and visa first, that he has a friend who’s a visa agent, and that he’ll take thief over to meet him and get a visa and passport made
- Cabbie drives around Mumbai with the meter running even more on the pretext of taking thief to visa agent
- After a whole day of driving around, the thief needs to pee and gets down
- The cabbie drives off with the two kilos of gold
- The thief is indignant and goes to the police station to complain about the theft of the gold he’s stolen.
- The Mumbai police check with the Bangalore police, and book him for the original theft
- The cabbie remains at large
The whole thing is like a Saki story. I love it.
Leave a Comment » | Weirder Than Fiction | Tagged: bhaiyya, cabbie, dubai, gold, ill-gotten gains, life of crime, live a life of pleasure alone, marathi manoos, mumbai, on the lam, raj thackeray, riotous living, taxi | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
February 19, 2008
Apparently, Bombay colleges are appealing to their students to refrain from making ethnic jokes, what with the inflamed situation:
Several colleges — probably the city’s most multicultural hubs — have informally cautioned students to go easy on community remarks, which would otherwise mean nothing more than harmless jokes and jibes.
“The students are very young and have no malice. Since we have a huge mix of students, it is important to be careful,” said MB Madlani, principal of Raheja College, Santacruz. “Teachers have informally talked about the issue and our students have responded maturely.”
This is all well and good. Especially because this appears to be a sensible discussion of risks rather than a blanket ban, which is quite surprising for Indian education. But what to make of this quote?
Sociologist Nandini Sardesai said the caution is demographically defined. “Colleges in areas like Parel, Shivaji Park and Dadar should be more cautious. India, including Mumbai, has a tendency to be communal at every level, be it religious or regional.”
I am enraged. How dare this so-called sociologist draw these invidious distinctions between the various regions of Mumbai? Where does this Colaba-prancing, Marine Drive-promenading, Cathedral-types socialite get off claiming that Goregaon types1 are more prone to violence than she is? This is regionalism of the worst sort. Someone should advise her to avoid unnecessary remarks.
1:For the benefit of new readers, IIM-B racism splits Maharashtrians into Cathedral Types (those who live in Bombay south of Mumbai Central), and Goregaon types (everyone else).
2 Comments | Charlatans, Racism, Weirder Than Fiction | Tagged: cathedral types, colaba, dadar, ethnic joke, goregaon types, hindustan times, maharashtra navnirman sena, marine drive, mns, mumbai, mumbai central, nandini sardesai, parel, political correctness, raheja college, raj thackeray, regionalism, santa cruz, shivaji park | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht
February 9, 2008
This has all the makings of another headless-chicken-gate:
Without naming Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the Shiv Sena on Friday made a scathing attack, calling them “bird flu affected poultry, that has no market value”.
Referring to the recent trouble in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra by MNS, the editorial in ‘Samana’, the Sena mouthpiece said, “in an attempt to project as crusaders of Mumbai, these boys behaved in a manner that is nothing but a desperate attempt to get free publicity”.
Also, the Shiv Sena as the voice of (relative) reason? Who would have thought the day would come?
Leave a Comment » | Links, MSM | Tagged: bird flu, h5n1, headless chicken, hindustan times, maharashtra, maharashtra navnirman sena, poultry, pti, raj thackeray, ronen sen, saamna, shiv sena, xenophobia | Permalink
Posted by Aadisht