Monday, September 21, 2009

Jet Airways Strike: Causes

The 5 day strike of jet airways pilots that ended on 13th September 2009 is another example of the dangers of taking communication lightly. According to sources the simulated strike cost jet around $40 million. The damage done is although much deeper. Looking at the nature of strike, there are 3 things that went wrong
  1. Communication
  2. Negotiations
  3. Interpersonal stage collapse
There was clearly a communication lag between the management and the pilots association that led to an ugly concert and pilots holding management to ransom. Labor unions can sometimes take advantage of the shortage of skilled labor and and can set terms and conditions not conducive to the growth of the organization. The history of the communication lag between Jet Airways management and its employees goes way back to Oct 2008 when around 1900 employees were laid off but later asked to return after government intervention.
This drama of layoff, which went awry in a way, gave the employees a sense of power over the management. Empowered employees won round I. The stage for Round II was set and all it needed was a spark. This time monetary losses were to the tune of $40 million. In hindsight it maybe easy to say all this, but looking at the consequences, had jet delayed the negotiation process, time would have given the management a big advantage.
Looking at way this strike has ended, if the management does not appoint a conciliator, who will provide an informal channel for labor-management relations to improve, an uglier showdown maybe on its way.