Kingfisher employees call off threatened agitation
A fresh crisis in the Kingfisher Airlines was averted on Tuesday after the beleaguered carrier’s employees withdrew their proposed agitation accepting its promoter Vijay Mallya’s assurance for a staggered payment of their salary dues starting on Wednesday.
The employees “reposed faith in the chairman’s assurance and decided to withdraw their proposed agitation” from Wednesday to protest the delay in payment of salaries and allowances, pending since last December, airline officials said.
The flight schedule of the crisis-ridden airline remained normal on Tuesday, a day after it cancelled at least 10 flights after some pilots, cabin crew, engineers and other staff did not report for work as a mark of protest.
“The employees accepted the assurance Mallya had given in his letter and decided that they would not go ahead with their ultimatum of an agitation if a part of their dues were not paid by 8 pm today,” the officials said.
The decision to call off the proposed agitation came on the back of a meeting Mallya had last night with a section of employees including pilots and engineers at his residence.
Mallya had assured the employees of paying salary to junior staff on Wednesday and to rest of the employees, including pilots and engineers, on April 9-10.
The agitating employees, who had initially rejected the offer and instead served a deadline of 8 pm on Tuesday for clearing a part of the dues, finally accepted the offer on Tuesday, they said.
Mallya was also understood to have doled out a veiled threat of shutting the air-carrier if the employees did not fall in line, saying the airlines may face cancellation of its flying permit in the eventuality of an agitation.
The crisis-ridden carrier was in any case operating a curtailed summer schedule of about 100 daily flights with 16 planes, terming it as a “holding pattern” being followed till the company got re-capitalised.
As part of this plan, Kingfisher has closed down several stations, including the major metros of Kolkata and Hyderabad, and asked almost half of its staff to stay at home while being in the company rolls.
Kingfisher has massively cut down its operations, including shutting down many domestic sectors and completely discontinuing international operations.
From 400 flights a day before the crisis last November, it is operating just about 100 flights now.
The airline, which has a debt of USD 1.3 billion, is under pressure from its lenders to inject fresh equity.
The debt-laden carrier terminated operations to 28 of its 56 destinations, including Hyderabad and Kolkata, over the past few days and asked about 40-50 per cent of its staff to stay at home till further orders.
Source: DDI News