Kingfisher Airlines is heading for more trouble with its employees now planning to head to court, a move that comes after the management delayed in paying pending salaries, if a time-line is not given on clearing all dues. A section of engineers from Kingfisher’s Delhi base are planning to take the airline to court to recover their dues. A meeting was held in Delhi on Wednesday to chalk out the plan and it was decided to write a letter to the management seeking clarity on operations and related matters.
“We have asked the management to share with us their strategy on re-capitalization and the time frame on restart of operation. We want to know as to when they would clear our dues. If we don’t get a satisfactory reply, we will move the court to recover our dues,” said an employee asking not to be named.
“All these days the management did not share anything with us about operations. Top officials are not taking our calls They need to re-assure us. Our salary from June is pending and the management has gone back on its commitment,” said another employee.
The employees said that they have registered their trade union Kingfisher Maintenance Welfare Association which would take up their matter. “The registration came today,” an employee said. Employees said the pending salary bill for all could be over Rs. 120 crore. A strike by the airlines’ engineers and pilots in October last year led to partial lockout of the airline and since then it has been grounded. Since January 1, the airline’s flying permit has been cancelled as the management failed to satisfy the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on a re-capitalization and turnaround plan to renew the permit.
Apart from employees, the airline is faing problems with its vendors, service providers and lenders. Tax authorities have also initiated asset attachment proceedings to recover the unpaid dues. At a recent meeting, the lenders had hinted at starting recovery proceedings.
On Tuesday, Mumbai airport authorities cancelled six departure slots of Kingfisher and allotted to them to Indigo. Delhi airport authorities have yet to take any such action. The airline owes GMR’s Delhi and Hyderabad airports approximately Rs. 60 crore. Airports Authorities of India is also asking for repay of dues totalling over Rs. 220 crore.