Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Spoilt Brat

The strike by pilots of the national career reminds me of a spoilt brat - no, not that of a child but an adult who has been indulged endlessly to the point of no return.

The last time the pilots went on strike, some of them were dismissed and then if I remember right reinstated.  This habit has made them so bold as to cripple the country, stranding thousands of passengers.  Every job comes with a certain amount of accountability and dignity.   This one is at its pits.  Not that I question employees rights to strike - it is necessary and essential sometimes.  However, going on a strike every six months and plunging the airline to more debts than what it is going through today is not justified.  The current reason given is the training being given to IA pilots for the 787 dreamliner.  When IA and AI have been merged into one entity, does your past still hold ?  Speak of mergers and acquisitions. 

If this is the attitude of the staff, why get us taxpayers to pay for it.  No wonder people try to evade tax.  Imagine, they are getting a 30,000 crore bailout and to top it they go on a strike.  Isn't this behaviour akin to a spoilt brat who goes partying when the family is plunging into debt.  Sometimes, it is better to cut the chord and hope that it will teach the child the value of security and the joy of spending something hard earned.  

I remember the last time I visited the Air India's office.  I had to cancel an international trip for a conference and thereby met the manager to ask him for cancellation procedures.  A gentleman walked in asking if he could get a discount on the ticket as someone known to him worked for the airline.  Another employee walked in asking that the manager's signature for a trip she was taking(I guess airline staff are entitled to trips, subsidised or free I am not sure - but they are which I gathered from the conversation).  All this was happening when the government was wondering how to bailout the airline from bankruptcy. 

Another time, a matronly woman had to be asked thrice by the lady sitting next to me for a blanket to cover herself up as she was feeling cold.  You should have seen the face of the matron. 

Would this have happened if it was a private carrier ? The staff's perks, such as the above would have been immediately cancelled and the expectation is that employees understand that a roof is better than pulling down the whole house.  Another airline in debt was allowed to sink  recently.  Then the question becomes, why not this one.  Just because it is a public carrier ?

It would have been understandable if the employees rallied around to save the carrier.  However, that is not what we as the public feel.  You never know when your flight will get cancelled - no surety.  A government servant is enough to cancel or delay your flight and no questions can be asked(the recent episode being the Maldives one where a plane was changed to accomodate a minister's family).  That is one reason why most people shift to private carriers.    

So, are we going to cut the leg and save the body or are we going to let it rot and stink with people around having to bear for it.  

(I know I sound brutal in places, but then this saga has been going on for too long.  Everytime there is talk of a bailout, parallely the staff go on strike as if it is their birthright.)


Sapna said...

Arun tells me that I am very vocal about the matter and that there are many layers to this. Politics is played out like a drama, some seen, some not, parts that can be heard, and parts that are not. Papers tell part of the story, not all.

I agreed with him that Air India has its good side. For one, the food is the best - you can't beat it. Then, there is nothing like the feeling you get when you fly the maharaja. Besides, in times of fog, the maharaja is one you can rely on as it will be the first to take off when clearance is given. So, it will get you home earlier than the others.

Then, how did it sink ? Time to fix it and fix it strong. I think so. Maybe I am naive, or wrong. But that is what I think right now. Please show me the other side.

Reynald Susainathan said...

Its pretty evident that the management is not quite effective and capable of managing its employees. I would say a spoilt brat is a mother's mistake, she should not hesitate using the rod. Management should emend policies and frameworks that are stellar and unquestionable.