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Hired, fired, and hired again

india Updated: Oct 17, 2008 01:16 IST
Ritika Chopra
Ritika Chopra
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

"I am so happy. I still can't believe it has happened. My entire family is dancing and celebrating right now," said 20-year-old Shruti Bhardwaj.

She was reacting to a late-night press conference in Mumbai where Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal announced the reinstatment of all 1,900 sacked employees.

Earlier in the day, 40-odd sacked employees protested at the domestic terminal for close to five hours. With the management refusing to meet them, they headed to the Chief Minister's House for help.

"We are getting all our news from the media. The management does not even feel that it is important to talk to us or explain. Those sacked in Mumbai have Raj Thackeray's support. Unfortunately no politician in Delhi has taken up our cause," said Rupanjal Bangia, who was - and now is again - a flight attendant with the company.

Gaurav Dutta, a flight attendant with Jet Airways, was expecting his confirmation letter by the end of this month. But the company handed him his termination letter instead. Of course now he can breathe easy but the situation was tense till late night.

Dutta was not the only one who felt duped. On Thursday morning, several protesting employees rubbished the company's claim that it had sacked only employees on probation.

Jet Airways, they said, had cheated many people by laying off employees who had cleared their mandatory "check flights" (tests taken to qualify for confirmation) and were going to be confirmed pretty soon.

"We all are made to sign a letter after clearing our check flights. This letter is kept with the air base manager," said Dutta. "None of us have that letter to prove that we were confirmed and so the company dismissed us along with the other employees on probation. Getting a confirmation letter is just a formality."

The cabin crew felt that sacking employees was not the only way of cutting costs. "Why doesn't the company think of cutting costs in other areas? The authorities could save a lot on money if they kept a check on the huge wastage of food on flights. They don't have to make the cabin crew stay in five star hotels during the layover flights. But instead they chose the easy way out," said an employee, who refused to be identified.

It's not just cabin crew who were pink slipped. Several ground staff employees were also sacked.