Chinmayi Shalya & Ranjani Rajendra/TNN
Mumbai, oct 18: The victory signs were there for the camera, and the smiles - not the plastic ones that are flashed when you board a flight, but real smiles of joy and relief - were back at Jet Airways offices on Friday morning.
The change in mood was as dramatic as company chairman Naresh Goyal's U-turn on Thursday on retrenching 1,900 employees. The sloganeering on footpaths and the sweaty faces of the last couple of days were gone and back in place was the confident walk and the sophistication that comes with months of training and hours of flying.
But the best example of what the changed mood was capable of came when a section of Jet employees, who had turned up at MNS leader Raj Thackeray's Dadar residence on Friday morning to thank him for his support, rushed out and hastened to meet Goyal after being told their chairman wanted to talk to them.
Most were overwhelmed at Goyal's turnaround but some added that the reasons he gave for revoking the termination were "too flimsy to be believed". Many think he "contradicted himself" when he said he wasn't aware of the management's decision to sack people.
"Nothing can move without the chairman's signature," one of the reinstated cabin crew members said. "He made a statement on television, saying he was laying off 850 employees, only two days back. He seems to have forgotten that moment," he said but added that he was still extremely happy and grateful to Goyal.
The day started for these cabin crew members with a meeting alarm - some of them received calls from the management early in the morning, asking them to come for a meeting at 8am. Those who had already landed at Raj Thackeray's residence at Dadar to thank him rushed to attend the meeting but found there was none.
"We were made to wait for almost two hours before they told us that Goyal would address us at Nariman Point," a staffer said. "It was probably a ploy to prevent us from going to Dadar. They didn't even let us go out for a sip of water," she added.
Goyal addressed the staffers at a hotel, saying they were "all part of the family". The crew were also assured their salaries would not be cut. The management has sought three days to prepare a new roster.