Editorial: Neo Capitalism vs Neo Trade Unionism
It’s quite odd to notice that a large number of passengers have to face troubles merely because they have booked to a carrier which is unable to achieve a smooth resolution of not a big internal dispute. Worse still, the Jet Airways knew that the strike – a mass leave by pilots – demanding reinstatement of their two companions sacked last month without assigning any reason has been waiting to happen for a fortnight. Their dismissal coincided with formation of National Aviators Guild (NAG); one of the two is its general secretary and other assistant secretary.
So far not much is known of the controversy to form a clear opinion. But what appears is that the Jet Airways was perhaps dissatisfied with its two pilots forming and joining a Union like NAG and went ahead with dismissing them with a silent message to other pilots to refrain from any kind of unionism. Contrary to management’s prediction, pilots got united on the sacking and insisted on reinstatement, failing which they threatened to go on strike with a 14 days notice in advance. The dispute rose to a level to demand conciliation process between the two sides through Regional Labour Commissioner (RLC).
The Jet Airways inability to resolve the issue goes on to show that it is reluctant to take back the fired employees (the only demand of the striking pilots) and pinned hopes on some other solution. The RLC fixed the date of next hearing on September 14 but pilots wanted a written assurance of reinstatement till September 7.
Though RLC had made it clear a week ago itself that both the sides were now under legal obligation under the Industrial Dispute Act and until conciliation process was on, pilots cannot go on strike, for it would be illegal; yet the Jet Airways inability to resolve the issue goes on to show that it is reluctant to take back the fired employees (the only demand of the striking pilots) and pinned hopes on some other solution. The RLC fixed the date of next hearing on September 14 but pilots wanted a written assurance of reinstatement till September 7.
By going on a mass leave – for strike was illegal – pilots have shown their insensitivity to passengers and company’s esteem. No amount of apology to passengers could change it. But Jet Airways reactionary approach by moving to Bombay High Court for seeking a restrain order against the mass leave was equally suggestive of their insensitivity to their valued employees who are fighting not for a pay rise, promotion, or alike, but for their companions’ rights.
Though Jet Airways is saying that it was informed by the NAG last night that there would be no strike and it went by the assurance, it does not lessen its responsibility for a simple reason that it could have handled this trifling issue very delicately right from the beginning had it given sufficient space to concerns for passengers and employees in its strategic thinking.