Jet Pilots Strike

India is a very peculiar country. In India the Government calls for strike [Tamil Nadu did it recently, the managements call for strike [Kingfisher and jet airways did it] and the workers of course call for strike, as we have seen in jet pilots case!

It is important to realise that the right to strike is more important here than the right to work! Everybody seems to be protesting against something and believing that public sympathies are with them.

Jet pilots strike by going on mass sick leave wins them no sympathy. But it does not win Naresh Goyal, the Chairman of jet Airways any sympathy either. Goyal has been mismanaging the HR scenario in his airline. He sacked a thousand plus staff sometime ago and disowned management action publicly, reinstated them. The man who gained was Raj Thackeray. Pilots are not the kind of people who resort to strike easily. Since the airline industry is not doing well, Goyal may have thought of reversing a power equation by ‘teaching a lesson’ to pilots. But such antiques do not win anyone public support. Just as Public Utility services cannot go on strike or lock-out at will, those units also cannot afford any industrial relations breakdown. These are sensitive units and must be managed sensitively and sensibly.

Indian Airlines has its own story of failure. But people place private airlines on a very different footing when it comes to expectations. Naresh Goyal has failed miserably in that department. It will be quite some time before Jet can recover its image.

In the meanwhile the conciliation will go on and nothing will emerge out of it. The Government is bringing pressure on Jet to settle the case. Given the level of investment, Jet management has more to lose by way of strike than pilots. Then why is Goyal fanning fire by sacking more pilots?

There is something more to the story than what meets the eye.