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Willie Walsh Isn’t Letting An Excellent Crisis Go To Waste

If we assume that this allegation is correct then Willie Walsh is doing something very sensible – refusing to allow a crisis to go to waste.

The chief executive of the company that owns British Airways has come under sustained attack at a hearing in the House of Commons, with MPs implying that he is using the coronavirus as cover to axe 12,000 jobs and change the terms and conditions of those employees who remain.

Willie Walsh, head of IAG, was told that the announcement a fortnight ago of a restructuring at BA looked like a “predetermined decision”, especially as redundancy notices had been produced before Britain’s lockdown was announced in March.

Every CEO does, of course, have a plan for who he’d like to fire. Hmm, OK, every useful CEO does. But things like union agreements and layoff laws and all that make it difficult to do so.

Thus, along comes a crisis and like Rahm Emmanuel there’s the thing that shouldn’t be wasted. It’s possible to take the carving knife to the excess fat of the organisation and no one really gets to complain. Or, at least, there’s an excuse to throw back at them.

There being, obviously, a larger point to this. The slashing that’s being done under the cover of the coronavirus is actually the inefficiency that the unions and the regulations impose upon the economy all the time. Perhaps, given that we’re so much poorer these days, w should not impose such extra poverty upon ourselves in the future?

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11 months ago

In the day on the US Gulf coast an imminent hurricane was the opportunity to bulldoze and bury all kinds of things that various government agencies, bureaus and piddilers were making trouble about. A sensible case of not letting a crisis go to waste.

11 months ago

The coronavirus (or more precisely, the ludicrous government response to the coronavirus) will usher in an era of what Tim called kitchen-sinking when it happens following a corporate change-of-control. Corporate reports will use the coronavirus as an excuse for (1) shutting down units that were never going to do anything but lose money, and (2) doing arbitrary other things that the board can’t really justify doing.

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