Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jet Airways: An insensitive strike

As we enter the 6th day of Jet Airways flight disruptions, an airline that prides itself on quality, I can't help but feel a disgust for the pilots that brought this about. Drawing an average of Rs. 600,000 a month ($15,000/month), amongst the highest paid of Indians (where are national per capital annual income average is around Rs. 150,000), these pilots have already caused over $20M in direct losses to the airline, not to mention the Millions more in losses by way of tarnished reputation, and treemdous losses and inconvenience to the passengers of the 1000+ canceled flights.

What makes the strike worse is that global aviation, Indian included, is going through an extremely rough patch, with each airline racking up millions of Dollars in losses. Jet Airways to has been losing money all of last year. Instead of working shoulder to shoulder with the airline management, these pilots can only think of their own agenda. Selfish.

Management books have pages full talking about the need of management to communicate their position to employees. But how many employees make an effort to understand the management position? There has always been way too much focus on management trying to communicate its position to employees, but very little on employees trying to understand management.

And what is the use of unions in India? The newspapers are full of stories of corrupt union leaders who lead unions as a way to gain personally. A recent story on Pervez Pestonji Saher, a senior laundry operator, showed how he is amongst the Taj Hotels highest paid employees, at Rs. 1.5 cr a year ($300,000/year), just because he is the leader of the hotel's union. In the past there have been stories on how famous union leader Datta Samant amassed a huge amount of wealth and power due to his position.

Instead of forming unions, people should try and better understand the company they are a part off. The reaslisation that there is no master and no workers, just a team, trying to make ends meet for everyone, is the key.

1 comment:

Fahed Zariwala said...

It's not just in Civil Aviation. Even in General Aviation, the pilots hold a flight to ransom if their demands for a 5 star hotel with internet, swimming pool, mid-city location, over 150 USD per diem , matrix cards and other requests are not granted. More than foreign pilots, Indian pilots are a big pain as their demands are just exorbitant and at most of the times, unjust. Their salaries and perks account for a lion's share in the operating cost of a charter airline.