After the protest by Jet Airways pilots, it is now the turn of Air India pilots to strike work. An impression seems to have gained ground that a strike is the best way to make the management accede to employees’ demands. Whether the strike is justified or not is another matter. But the need of the hour is to settle the issue through negotiations.
The strike by the pilots of two major airlines in quick succession has raised disturbing questions on the human resource practices in industries and business houses. The right to strike may be non-negotiable in a democracy. But it should be exercised as a last resort. More often than not, it is used as a tool to coerce and intimidate.
When strikes become the norm rather than an exception, it shows that there is something seriously wrong with the grievance redress mechanisms. The public are not concerned about who is right. The management and employees should hold negotiations and keep the channels of communication open to avert strikes.
It is unfortunate that pilots hold the country to ransom every now and then, and the government is unable to stop them. Air India, which is being run with the taxpayers’ money, sustained huge losses during this year. The government should think of closing it down. The Prime Minister and the President can fly in Air Force planes, instead of maintaining a white elephant like Air India.