View Single Post
Old 2nd Apr 2011, 14:05
  #253 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 2
The Wind of Change - Evolution or Deja Vu.

When first I started work, an electronic engineering apprenticeship with a prominent equipment manufacturer in the mid-sixties , there was still very much 'a job for life culture' - nothing would change. The company was run by tradition. We're British, we're the best, the customer will come to us we told ourselves. The market served was global, both commercial and government agencies (cost + whatever it cost contracts). Competition was limited. Life was good.

I'm old enough to remember the industrial unrest of the 60s & 70s when strong unions told weak managements how it would be. Unfortunately for these two squabbling parties , their members and the employees, the 'eye was off the ball'. The product was poor, in some cases exceptionally poor. In concept, design and execution - be it service or hardware. Competition from the Far East was growing at an outstanding pace with a completely different culture and attitude. British companies merged or were taken-over in an attempt to protect and strengthen their markets. Today, none of these businesses exist. Vast numbers of people went through the trauma of redundancy.

I did most of my business travelling in the 70s & 80s and one could see the same thing happening with the airlines. Singapore Airlines was THE carrier whenever possible. Thai and Malaysian airlines could be pretty good too. At the time there was only one prominent British carrier (although others were growing), BOAC/BEA, who then merged and re-named British Airways. Unfortunately they had the 'we're the best take it or leave it' attitude. As regards other 'Western' airlines there are some that were household names and aviation pioneers at that. All gone. I suspect younger staff in the airline industry may never even have heard of them.

Sad? Yes, but all part of evolution. Nothing is forever. For an organisation to survive it must be acutely aware of its environment and capable of responding to the climate in which it finds itself. By 'Organisation' this includes management, employees and unions. All working for the common good of the 'organisation' with an eye on the ball that matters. Failure to achieve this at any level will inevitably lead to failure of the organisation. Whether the culture, attitude, operating and or social principles of the competition are right or wrong is immaterial, that's the competition.

Can British Airways survive this Cabin Crew dispute? Undoubtedly it can. Will it continue as the British Airways it was before? No. It is already in the its second corporate merger process with more possibly to come. Whether this is Deja Vu or evolution in favour of the company, as always, time will tell. Getting to grips with operating costs in order to compete in this type of market is a long term quest, the results of which will only be known years hence.

To me, one thing is clear. It will not be successful in these enterprises without mature, positive and forward thinking contributions from ALL the workforce.
My despair is that once again we see a section of trade-unionism self-destructing regardless of the damage caused, in particular to its own members. But I suppose that's evolution for you. Or is it Deja Vu?

Tapas anyone?
iainar is offline