Air India and the Game of Chess

There is a striking parallel between the battle of supremacy between Vishwanath Anand and Boris Gelfand, and between the Air India pilots and the Airline.

Neither player could win any game. Then Gelfand struck. In the next game Anand hit back with vengeance.

There was a kind of stasis in Air India for long. The pilots were difficult to manage, they had their grievances. Merger between Air India and Indian Airlines became messy; actually it practically did not happen as far as HR matters are concerned. The Airline was living with the problems and awaiting solutions from Dharmadhikari report.

Then pilots struck. They struck work. 1 – 0.

Air India derecognized the union, and dismissed more than 100 pilots. 1 -1.

It looks like the game might go in for a ‘sudden death.’ The High Court has already served contempt of court notices. The Airline has declared its intention to recruit new pilots. It will not be easy for them to do it. Pilots are not unskilled workers that a labour contractor can bring in large numbers.

And now Air India has declared a VRS to clean up the executive cadre. Hopefully that Airline will have cash to pay dues of the retiring employees.

The employees are having unenviable choices: join the striking pilots or voluntary retirement. 

I wonder if this ‘sudden death’ would bring in privatization.

Photo: Courtesy Google