kl911
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Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 12:30 am

Please don't get me wrong! I work in the travel/airline business for a long time and was for instance fired October 1st 2001 due to the terror attacks.

The thing that bothers me is that many employees will block a reorganization (anywhere in the world ) which could get a healthy employer again, but instead they choose to go under with the company.

Don't they get it that in such a 'flexible' business a company might have to fire people to save the jobs of the other ones?

What's your opinion on this?

Edited: because I couldn't find a good title...

KL911

[Edited 2004-08-17 17:32:38]

[Edited 2004-08-17 17:38:26]
 
ssides
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 12:46 am

You're absolutely correct. In a free enterprise system operating in free markets, businesses have to adapt to changing circumstances. These changes are never easy, and they sometimes involve laying off employees. It's not fun, but it must be done occasionally.

People must learn to think of labor as a service being purchased by an airline (or any other business, for that matter). Think about it: if an airline reduces its schedule, it will use fewer planes. It will also need less fuel. Same goes for food, parts, lavatory services, and gate space. If we "protect" employees from firings in these circumstances, shouldn't we also protect the plane-makers, oil companies, caterers, part manufacturers, lavatory contractors, and airports? It doesn't make sense.

Unfortunately, our recalcitrant unions -- both in the US and Europe -- have failed to realize this.
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
 
kl911
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 12:50 am

Thanks Ssides,

In the last few days here in France we had a good example: Perrier, the Mineralwater company, wanted to reorganize, the unions ( employees) were agains, so the management decided to move the whole factory to Eastern Europe, firing everybody. Simple example, but it's like that. If the competition is cheaper then you, you have to do something, and employees are the most expensive items at the end.

KL911
 
7LBAC111
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 12:54 am

I'm with you too KL911.

An example of this is when CO where struggling years back and they laid off buckets of staff. As a result the company emerged much better financially, turned around their reputation and now has arguably the most loyal workforce in the industry.

Now, as DL.US and UA ask for concessions, the staff are resisting. Perhaps they should look at their CO colleagues and take a leaf from their book. CO is in good shape to see out this blip. If the US/UA/DL employees accept a little more hardship, they may find themselves in CO's position in the future.

Mark
7LBAC111
Debate is what you put on de hook when you want to catch de fish.
 
kl911
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 12:58 am

Wow! It's a long time since someone agreed with me here on A.net...
( It's true, I don't choose the easiest subjects...  Laugh out loud )
 
ssides
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:00 am

And who says international relations are falling apart? Here we've got an American, a Brit, and a Dutchman agreeing on labor issues!
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
 
aa757first
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:03 am

Here in the United States, we now have automated toll booths. You rent a transmitter that sits on your windshield and simply drive through the toll area. It is called EZ-Pass in Pennsylvania. This is a very easy technology and more and more people are taking advantage of it. Which means toll collectors are becoming redundant. So what happens? They slowly are laying the off. They are great employees. Always showed up for work on-time and were always polite to customers. But, they are simply not needed.

The same goes for airlines. As we add web check-in and kisok check-in, ticket agents are becoming less needed. Same with travel agents. I can book my airline ticket on the airline website, spend seven minutes doing so in my pajamas and pay $134. Or, I can go to my travel agent, drive to the office which is fifteen minutes away, spend another five waiting for an agent to free up and then spend another five booking the ticket, which I paid $147 for. Travel agents are great, especially when something goes wrong. They simply can't compete with the internet. So, unfortunate, travel agents are losing their jobs. They, too, are becoming redundant.

It happens in every industry. With self-serve kisoks in grocery stores, they can have one employee checking out four customers at one time. With inventory tracking systems, Macy's doesn't need as many inventory counters. It is unfortunate, but true.

AAndrew
 
luvflng
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:06 am

Not necessarily so. Look at Southwest Airlines. The have not downsized throughout the years they have been in operation. It is only recently that they announced an early retirement option due to the trouble looming with the high fuel prices.

The idea of hiring and firing is deeper than just managing the bottom line. This is called corporate anorexia. You fire people until you come back from the red, however the remainder of the employees are burdened with extra work. The morale is low and most likely due to that, the company will go to the red anyway.

The company, for that matter in any industry, needs to realize that the people are not just means, but they are the ends that make things happen. You keep them satisfied, you have good morale, people identify with the vision of the company, which in turn translates to quality product that the customer is satisfied with.

In case with airlines, some can go on without firing people!! Some are so fat due to inefficiencies in the management that the only prudent thing is to lay off people. So the idea is to grow the company at such a pace that you can withstand economic downturns without laying off people. That however is not on many corporate agendas.

-luvflng
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Dalmd88
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:06 am

Lets get some terminolgy straight. When a business is forced to cut staff it is not firing employees. It is a layoff. Firing is when a single employee is terminated, usually due to job performance, failed drug test, theft, etc. Why has the media in the last few years been using these two terms interchangably?
 
kl911
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:11 am

Dalmd88,

Thanks to clarify that. Guess I never stop learning English.

KL911
 
luvflng
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:15 am

Dalmd88,

firing or laying off, it has the same connotation. The person looses his/her job. I think we all understood what Kl911 meant in his post.

-luvflng
Radar Contact Terminated, Squawk VFR
 
kl911
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:44 am

Luvflng,

This thread is not about somebody loosing his job, but the ones that can keep it because someone else gets the sack. As sad as it is, it's good in my opinion. ( Although it might be me one day... again..) Thanks anyway!  Laugh out loud

KL911
 
desertjets
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:04 am

Labor-management relations is a two-way street. Oftentimes many of the enthusiasts on this site get very protective, upset, whatever, when they see labor groups threatening action and/or not agreeing with what management wants. For many of these airlines labor relations can be described as piss poor. Even in flush times employees will be treated poorly or as if they were completely expendable (which in many cases they are). So when the preverbial shit hits the fan the labor groups may be less willing to deal.

Now this does not excuse the unions either. Many of them have had major roles in the alienation with management. And many of them have had major roles in the demise of many an airline.

Again I believe that Southwest is an excellent exemplar here. While they are among the most unionized of the airlines, they also have some of the most flexible work rules. Their wages are not exactly industry leading either. Yet the workforce remains generally satisfied with management and the company has maintained a level of profitability that most others could only imagine through some difficult times.

At this point I am not even sure that my response is relevent to the question at hand. But I will throw this one back at you... why should an employee feel any need to heed the concessions of their employer (unless they are contractually obliged to do so) if the employer has not made a good faith effort to ensure that the relationship is healthy.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
Jano
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 2:15 am

Luvflng

I would argue that what you described is really idealistic case, which is far from reality in many cases. Let's only look at UAL, where both management and unions got very greedy a few years back. It was one of the causes of them being in Ch11 now.
The Widget Air Line :)
 
luvflng
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 3:25 am

Jano,
Idealized? Hardly. Look at Southwest. I just summarized the Southwest model to my post. If they can do it why not United?
You are right about one thing and that is greed being one component that drives these airlines down.

-luvflng
Radar Contact Terminated, Squawk VFR
 
alphascan
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:23 am

Some are so fat due to inefficiencies in the management that the only prudent thing is to lay off people.

Examples please.

Management is always the first to be cut, usually making the operation LESS efficient. It doesn't take much for a middle manager earning $50,000/year to save the company his/her salary. They do it many times over annually.

In the airline business, managers are working with huge budgets. If there are not enough bodies around, time becomes more valuable than money and the amount of waste that creeps in is mind boggling.
"To he who only has a hammer in his toolbelt, every problem looks like a nail."
 
kl911
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 8:23 am

''Idealized? Hardly. Look at Southwest. I just summarized the Southwest model to my post. If they can do it why not United?''

Hmm, still no answers on that one, I wonder why..........
I do hope that there are no A.net members also member of a Union, because thats sick. For me Unions are communist and against free market principles. Unions are the cause of a lot of lay offs.

KL911
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 8:45 am

>>>firing or laying off, it has the same connotation. The person looses his/her job.

While both have the same effect in the immediate term, there's a big difference between the two...

If one is "fired" you're gone, period, as in forever.

If one is "laid off" you're gone now, but have the possibility of coming back should business conditions improve.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Jano
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:08 am

Hmm, still no answers on that one, I wonder why..........
KL 911

Gee, I guess I need to go to gym too, pack stuff for tomorrow's trip to VIE... I kindly ask you not to post this kind of comments. You cannot know why it sometimes takes several hours to respond.

For me Unions are communist and against free market principles.
Our positions are quite close here.

Idealized? Hardly. Look at Southwest. I just summarized the Southwest model to my post. If they can do it why not United?

luvflng

Looking at the airlines here in the USA, SWA is an exception (with very very few others) making profits even in very lean quarters. The majority of the airlines are just money losing businesses. To me that means that they are far from the ideal, from where they need to be. Their business models are not good enough (far from ideal) for what they want to do. That's why I wrote "idealistic case".
The Widget Air Line :)
 
AEROFAN
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:30 am

I think the CEOs and people who make these decisions should fire themselves first. They are often the most inefficient, incompetent idiots.
Firing employees is the easiest thing to do, and only a short term stop gap measure. If CEOs were as good as they are reputed to be, they would find innovative ways of putting their companies back into the black. hmmmmmmm perhaps they should eliminate all those free upgrades that their cheap 1K pax get.
 
kl911
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Tue Aug 24, 2004 1:47 am

'''hmmmmmmm perhaps they should eliminate all those free upgrades that their cheap 1K pax get.''''

I would support that one. In that case you can use a smaller plane and have higher yields. Voila, the answer...

Like I said before, if you cancel FFP's , flights will become much cheaper, and with the money you save you can buy your own 'upgrade' or free flight.
(Whenever you want, which is not the case with free flights using miles..)

( Think I will be a CEO one day? )

 Laugh out loud
KL911
 
backfire
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:24 am

Fired...laid off...Why has the media in the last few years been using these two terms interchangably?

I'd be surprised if the media is interchanging them - there's a legal ramification attached to being fired as opposed to laid off, and the media tends to be averse to getting sued.

 
luvflng
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:01 am

Jano:
I agree that SWA is a unique case, but what I am merely saying is that it can be done. SWA is not perfect, and I don't suggest that all these airlines become SWA.

Kl911:
I don't follow your "unions" hate speech in regards of my post. SWA as UA both have unions, but one airline thrives and the other is at its death bed. I do not belong to a union, and yes I have my reserves towards some of the union actions that I know of. However, unions will be part of airlines for a long time (at least in the US). So, KL911 ( you want to be a CEO, right ), you need to figure out how to run an airline successfully with unions, otherwise you are going to fail.

-luvflng
Radar Contact Terminated, Squawk VFR
 
kl911
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RE: Firing Employees, It's Ok When Needed?

Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:27 am

'''So, KL911 ( you want to be a CEO, right ), you need to figure out how to run an airline successfully with unions, otherwise you are going to fail.''

Hey, you are the student, not me.........  Laugh out loud



KL911