It’s been a difficult week for Air India. First it had had to deal with the aftermath of last Saturday’s crash in Mangalore. Then on Tuesday, up to 15,000 of its employees went on strike protesting salary delays and an alleged media gag order from management. About 73 flights were disrupted.
Air India took swift action against the strikers. Its lawyers moved the Delhi High Court, which in turn declared the strike illegal on Wednesday. The protesting unions then backed down and called off their strike.
Air India didn’t let up in its crackdown. By Thursday it fired 23 employees. It then withdrew recognition of the two unions at the center of the strike. But one of them has threatened to strike again on 12 June.
There were some new maneuvers in the auto industry this week. On Wednesday Mahindra announced it was buying a 55% stake in Reva Electric Car Company. And though we don’t know much the deal is worth, Mahindra will buy out the promoter’s stake and also infuse Rs45 core in fresh equity. Mahindra’s hoping the acquisition will give it a head start in the race for electric cars.
With Mahindra driving in, General Motors is backing out. The company’s Indian unit is exiting its partnership with Reva. G M will now focus on its own electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt.
It’s a historic moment for the tech industry. On Wednesday Apple’s market capitalization overtook Microsoft’s making it the world’s biggest technology firm. But Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer wasn’t giving in. On a visit to Delhi on Thursday he pointed out his company remained the most profitable of its kind. No word yet from Steve Jobs.