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Grounded but Jet staff united in protest

Sacked Jet Airways cabin crew were galvinised in their fight to get their jobs back on Thursday as the shock of being fired subsided and became a coordinated protest, reports Barney Henderson.
By Barney Henderson | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON OCT 16, 2008 11:22 PM IST

Sacked Jet Airways cabin crew were galvinised in their fight to get their jobs back on Thursday as the shock of being fired subsided and became a coordinated protest.

While on Wednesday the group was largely despondent, by Thursday, their plight had gained support from thousands of aviation workers across the country as the industry faced further cuts.

On Tuesday, 850 Jet cabin crew were sacked over the phone. They are to be given one month’s basic salary of Rs 9,000. The average monthly wage is Rs 33,000, including flying bonuses.

The group staged a protest for the second consecutive day outside Jet offices in Andheri. Backed by employees from Air India, the former cabin crew also got the support from Aviation Employees’ Union and Bharatiya Kamgar Sena.

The sacked workers are also being supported by Raj Thackeray, who will meet Jet chief Naresh Goyal in the next 24 hours.

“It was a much more positive day today and we have come out fighting,” said 23-year-old Rahul Rohit from Delhi. “We are united. Raj Thackeray’s representatives were with us today and they gave us assurances that they were doing all they can for us. They told us to be calm and patient and wait for the outcomes of the coming meetings.”

“We have been encouraged by all the support we have got and this has truly become a global issue. Up to 10,000 jobs could be at risk and this is no way to treat committed employees.”

The former staff said they were outraged that Jet had hired them in such large numbers when the company must have known they were facing financial difficulties.

“We were just a short-term measure for Jet and we feel like we were used to fill a gap,” said 25-year-old Pavan Kapil from Rajasthan. “They must have known for two years what was going on financially and this is an inhuman way to treat young people who have given up so much and put everything into the training. People’s dreams and futures have been destroyed. We have to keep up the hope that we can get our jobs back, or at the least get a proper compensation package.”

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