internatiONAL SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND MEDIALabour laws-iiCASE OF JET AIRWAYS
Ruchita Chopra (9165)
CASE OF JET AIRWAYS:
(A) WHO WENT FOR THE STRIKE:-
Jet Airways pilots went on a sick leave for an indefinite period or on holiday as they call it, which resulted in cancellation of lots of flights and it virtually took the entire jet airways to a standstill. As the Management fired two senior pilots Balaraman and Sam Thomas no proper reasons and the move termed as “Sabotage of Operation” who tried to make a union in the company. Pilots were agitating against sacking of two pilots by the Jet management and wanted reinstatement of two fired pilots by the airline.
(B) WHEN IT STARTED:-
On 21 July 2009, jet Airways pilots have given notice for an indefinite strike from Monday, 7, September, 09. Pilots want reinstatement of two fired pilots by the airline. Airline will be left with 139 pilots, Expats, trainees and senior pilots.
(C) HOW IT STARTED:-
Jet Airways was against Pilots creating a trade Union (probably the outcome of what had happened few months back – sacking of few hundred employees).To show their dissent, Jet Airways, sacked nearly 10 pilots who were instrumental in creating this Union. This did not go down well with other Pilots and till now 432 pilots have gone on sick leave, with 360 not reporting for work on the first day. Jet Airways has close to 760 pilots on its rolls.With more than half of Pilots absent, the flights had to be cancelled and passengers were left stranded!
The pilots are ready to get back as soon as the two pilots who were sacked in the beginning of the month are taken back. The jet airways management does not want to take back the two pilots and they are not recognizing this union either. Also, it should be noted that any strike at this time would be considered illegal as per the industrial dispute act.The unapproved union named “National Aviators Guild” or in short, “NAG” is headed by – “Girish Kaushik”. He clarified that the pilots are not on strike and it’s a decision of each separate pilot who have gone into a holiday, and if the management calls back pilots – “Balaraman” and “Sam Thomas” they can resume their jobs right away
GOVERNMENTS POINT OF VIEW ON THE STRIKE:-
The labor ministry said a pilots’ union at Jet Airways (India) Ltd, India’s largest private airline by passengers carried, could not go on strike as air transport is as a public utility service. The office of the deputy labor commissioner, central, under the ministry of labor and employment, added that the newly formed National Aviators Guild (NAG) cannot go on strike while conciliation proceedings are in process. The labor commissioner has called for talks between the union and the airline management on 31 August.
EMPLOYEES POINT OF VIEW:-
A) EMPLOYEES SACKED:-
Sacked Jet Airways pilots on said that the Constitution of India empowered them with the right to strike if the management was indulging in unfair practices. Sam Thomas, one of the sacked pilots, told a press conference here that there was no question of disbanding the union that they formed and that the airlines management has maligned the image of the pilots. He also said that the strike would continue as long as their demands were not addressed. Thomas said the pilots union is ready to talk with the management to resolve their issues, which he said, had been forwarded more than 40 days ago. He also said that several unions across various sectors have offered their support to the strike. He claimed that the Jet Airways management has reneged on several agreements before and added that the sacking of pilots was unjustified.
B) EMPLOYEES WORKING(GROUND STAFF, CREW MEMBERS ETC):-
The carrier’s ground staff appealed to the pilots to withdraw their agitation and “not put their future at risk”. as they are already going through recession and their salaries will be delayed. They are already undergoing losses.Ashwani, a Jet Airways supervisor: “We appeal to the pilots to give up their agitation. Our airline is making losses and now due to the pilots’ agitation, our revenue is going to other airlines. How will we get our salaries?”
CUSTOMERS POINT OF VIEW:-
The strike has caused nearly 700 flights to be cancelled since Tuesday and has inconvenienced over 28,000 passengers.
Thousands of Jet customers have been forced to change their travel plans since the strike began causing one of the biggest aviation disruptions in India in recent years. Customers had to face lot of difficulties due to the strike.
FINAL DECISION AS ON 12TH SEPTEMBER:-
Pilots at India’s Jet Airways resumed work Sunday ending a five-day strike that led to the cancellation of more than 800 flights. The standoff between the airline and its pilots ended late Saturday after the company agreed to reinstate four pilots who were fired for trying to form a pilots’ union. From 13TH September “the airline will operate its full schedule of services” on its domestic and international flights with all crew reporting for duty.Jet offered a full refund to passengers whose flights were canceled, but thousands were stranded and had to scramble to get other flights. After nearly two days of talks, the airline and pilots’ representatives said the sacked pilots would be rehired and that a “consultative group” would be formed comprising representatives of the company and pilots to continue the process of dialogue to resolve all their problems. Jet Airways suffered a loss of nearly US$8 million a day during the strike.
STRIKE LEGAL OR ILLEGAL?
The industrial dispute laws allow for firing of employees on grounds of indiscipline or non-performance, but a strong culture of trade unionism means such provisions can rarely be applied. India’s Trade Union Act of 1926, which grants the right to form a union and negotiate wages and fringe benefits, which analysts say raises costs and hurts competitiveness.
Under the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), which applies to the pilots who, despite their hefty pay packets are classified as ‘workmen’, any strike without giving notice while conciliation proceedings are on is ‘‘illegal’ ’ and hence prohibited. Also, if a notice of a strike is given by the union, but the strike is initiated within 14 days of such a notice, then too it is an illegal strike. A union also cannot legally go on strike within seven days of the conclusion of conciliation proceedingsEmployees of public utilities and services such as hospitals can go on strike with prior notice to the management. A common form of protest by employees barred from a formal strike is to go on mass sick leave as in the case of Jet pilots. The Jet management has called the action a “simulated strike”.