All the 1,900 employees sacked by Jet Airways over the last 48 hours will get their jobs back, Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal announced in a dramatic, late-night press conference on Thursday night.
<b1>“I want to see smiles on your faces,” he said, after driving in to the Jet corporate office from the airport. “My management took this decision on the basis of certain economic condtions…As the head of the family, my conscience does not allow me to look at just economics.”
“I want to see my family happy,” said Goyal, 48 hours after scenes of weeping, protesting Jet employees played out on television screens across India.
<b2>Goyal, who was accompanied by his wife, looked tired, and his voice was laden with emotion on a day when politicians from the ruling alliance expressed their nervousness over the biggest job losses ever in India’s struggling aviation sector. “I am under no political pressure, I have met no politician of any political party,” said Goyal, who explained he had been abroad for the last two days and returned to watch scenes of his employees wandering the streets of Mumbai and Delhi.
“It’s a good decision,” Aviation Minister Praful Patel said within minutes of Goyal’s announcement.
Patel said he had no “foolproof solution” to Goyal's request for help from the government. “I cannot write a cheque for any airline. There is no such thing as a bailout package, please.”
“This is the biggest Diwali gift we have received,” said Mehul (who identified himself with his first name) a delighted Jet employee sacked on Wednesday. “Even with a little less salary, I don’t mind going back; w e are family. I don’t mind helping out.”
Goyal said he knew nothing about salaries, possible salary cuts, not even how many employees had been sacked.
“Main apni maa ki kasam khake kehta hoon mujhe numbers kuch nahi pata (I swear on my mother, I do not know the numbers of sacked employees),” he said.
“They are all my family, I cannot see tears in their eyes; when I saw their tears, I could not sleep,” Goyal said. “How will I feel if my 19-year-old daughter is turned out of home?”