SEVEN days and $5.5 million later, the pilots' association of Pakistan International Airlines has called off its strike. It is about time. In these extremely competitive times for international airlines, our national carrier could not afford to inconvenience its passengers as much as they did. The hapless passengers, primarily those bound for Europe, were left stranded at the airports. In a show of resilience and ingenuity, some of the PIA higher management, who are qualified pilots in their own right, took the initiative and undertook these flights themselves, if only to cut the pilots down to size a bit. Both sides, now cognizant of their situation, decided to find a way out. The pilots need to know what the organization can and cannot give them. These are times of recession. All governments know that. All businesses know that. Whereas the problem in Pakistan might have been that of limited public fiscal space - businesses are actually as good or bad as they had been in the previous government - the effects of the global recession are still felt by companies, public or private. Employees, especially white-collar employees of these companies, should realize the predicament their organizations are in. Even when times were good, the situation at PIA was not peaches. It is a bit of a drain on the exchequer. It needs to make better business sense. Granted, as a public sector corporation, it does fly to commercially unviable destinations, but the minuses seem to be outweighing the pluses. It is a top-heavy organization with far more chiefs than Indians. It needs to be streamlined. In the process it is bound to cut down on many jobs, including from the ranks of those who took part in the current strike. Pushing PIA to the brink is going to be counter-productive to their well-being. They don't want to go down in history as the group that laid the final straw on the camel's back.