Jet employees march over salary delay

Association holds meeting with management, demands government intervention, files police complaint

Published - April 13, 2019 01:19 am IST - Mumbai

Uncertainty:  Jet Airways employees protest at Airport Road on Friday.

Uncertainty: Jet Airways employees protest at Airport Road on Friday.

Over 300 Jet Airways employees — from customer service, security, and ramp services departments — on Friday marched from the airport’s Terminal 2 at Sahar to the airline headquarters in Andheri (East).

In what seemed to be a reminder of October 2008, when a similar protest was held as the airline tried to retrench 1,000 staff, the employees had a few questions: what is happening to the airline, whether they will get paid soon, and if their jobs will be secure over the coming months. Unlike line pilots and aircraft engineers, who have not received three months of salary, these airport staff have not been paid only for the last month.

At Siroya Centre, even as other employees of the corporate office continued to work, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and president of the All India Jet Airways Officers and Staff Association (AIJOSA), Kiran Pawaskar, addressed the protesters.

“The company has not paid salaries to its employees (to date), which is in gross violation of the law of the land,” Mr. Pawaskar said.

The NCP leader said with close to 17,000 direct employees, the pain of such a big commercial organisation closing is going to be enormous in terms of both direct and indirect jobs.

Personal problems

The protest saw many reveal the bad situation on their personal fronts. A staffer from the customer service was seen pleading with Mr. Pawaskar to get salaries released.

“I have recently been transferred to Mumbai from Trivandrum as the station was shut down. I have a daughter and have to pay rent in two cities. In the absence of salaries and any information about our professional future, I am doomed,” she said.

Sheel Kably, a senior customer service associate, was clear that he wanted Naresh Goyal to take charge. “Mr. Goyal is capable of turning around the airline because it was his baby. The current management has created a mess,” Mr. Kably, whose wife had to undergo a hip surgery following a fall, said. Mr. Kably, like some other colleagues, alleged that they had been denied medical reimbursement.

AIJOSA vice-president Sushma Shetty demanded that the government intervene. “We are contemplating calling upon our members to opt for NOTA in the general elections,” Ms. Shetty said.

Mr. Pawaskar said the association’s efforts to get relief from the management has unfortunately been unsuccessful in view of the complete absence of information on the current financial crisis.

He said for the past few years, the airline management has not been addressing many issues of the employees. “These include wage/salary revision from April 2018, bonus and ex-gratia payments, and leave and leave benefits,” he said.

After holding discussions with Raj Shivakumar, vice-president, network, revenue management, Praveen Iyer, vice president, revenue management, Rahul Taneja, chief people officer, and other senior management officials in the absence of airline CEO Vinay Dube, the association president told employees, “The management merely assured us; there is no solution yet.”

Mr. Pawaskar told The Hindu that the airline management had told him that they needed ₹60 crore to pay the salaries of ground staff. “They [management] spoke of a plan A, B and C with regard to funds expected to be released by the banks. There is total mismanagement in the airline. My fear is if cancellations persist then the routes might go. And routes once gone would be difficult to regain immediately,” the NCP leader said.

The Jet management explained that the routes already taken over by Vistara, Indigo and AirAsia India were only till June.

Later, Mr. Pawaskar submitted a complaint to the Sahar police. “We want the police to register a case against former airline chief Mr. Goyal, Mr. Dube, and State Bank of India chairman Rajnish Kumar for bringing the airline to such a situation. The rights of employees have to be protected; there should be no job losses,” he said.

The Sahar police said they would need to refer the matter to their higher-ups since it involves the former airline chairman, its present CEO, and SBI chairman.

“If the police do not lodge a complaint, we will intensify the protest,” Mr. Pawaskar said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.