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Corporate Jul 16, 2012

Pilots may drag Kingfisher to labour court over salary

Mumbai: With the Kingfisher Airline management maintaining a stoic silence over the payment of salary dues, a section of its pilots are contemplating to drag the management to the labour court, sources said.

"(Airline) Chairman Vijay Mallya's communication to the employees conceals more than it reveals. While he claims over 75 percent staff have been paid, he conveniently ignores the fact that he still has to pay four months' salaries to
them. Now we have come to a situation where we are left with no option but to move the labour court over the issue," airline sources told PTI here.

A group of pilots are in consultation with lawyers in this regard, they said, adding that they are likely to move the court some time this week.

PTI

In the absence of a trade union at the airline for its nearly 1,700 employees, the pilots are planning to approach the court in groups, they said.

Notably, none of the five private airlines have trade unions. A few years back, a group of Jet pilots had tried to form a union, but the move was nipped in the bud by the management.

The debt-ridden airline has paid February salaries to around 75 percent of the staff, while the rest are yet to get their dues.

"Unfortunately, the airline is keeping mum on when it will pay the salaries for March, April, May and June," they said.

Mallya, who shot off an emotional letter to his staff yesterday after a large number of its employees went on a strike leading to cancellation of over 40 flights, had said, "The commitment made by chief executive Sanjay Aggarwal and executive vice president Hitesh Patel regarding salaries recently have been met to the extent of 75 percent."

Mallya, however, gave no assurance by when the remaining salary dues would be cleared.

He also asked the agitating employees not to talk to the media or "disgrace" the company saying it would affect the recapitalisation efforts.

Reacting sharply to Mallya's letter, some pilots had said there could not be a bigger disgrace to the company than defaulting on payments to its aircraft lessors, airport operators, oil marketing firms, the government, apart from the
salaries of its employees.

Meanwhile, Kingfisher Airline said that all its scheduled flights are operating normally. "All our scheduled flights will now be operating normally with immediate effect (July 15)," a Kingfisher airline spokesperson said.

When asked whether the pilots had called off their agitation and airline had given any assurance that the remaining employees will be getting their February salaries on Monday, the spokesperson refused to offer any comments.

PTI

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