Kingfisher Crisis: Talks Between Management, Employees Fail

   on October 03 2012 7:37 AM

A meeting between Kingfisher Airlines and the employees union failed to reach an agreement to resolve ongoing labor problems in the beleaguered airlines Wednesday, as the management declared that it could not assure salaries in the future.

The engineers and pilots of Vijay Mallya-controlled Kingfisher Airlines have been on strike demanding the payment of pending salaries since March, forcing the debt-ridden private carrier to declare a partial lockout of three days Tuesday.

The Kingfisher CEO and top brass met the striking employees Wednesday to negotiate a solution to end the lock-out and resume operations by Oct. 5.

However, the talks failed as Kingfisher officers said that the company had no money and although it would pay a month’s salary in a few days, it would not commit on the future salaries, CNN-IBN TV reported.

The employees stood firm on their demands asking the air carrier to clear all pending salaries before they resumed work.

The aviation minister and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took a status report from the management Tuesday and made it categorically clear to the cash-strapped airline that the salary dues should be cleared before resuming the operations.

The management Tuesday assured the DGCA that it would clear all employee dues in a few days and resume operations after that. However, both sides failed to arrive at an agreement and the deadlock is expected to continue beyond Oct. 5.

The DGCA stated that Kingfisher Airlines would not be allowed to fly till its airworthiness was certified by the airline's engineers. Kingfisher Airlines does not have a safety certification as its engineers refused to report to work, protesting the delay in salaries.

Meanwhile, Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said that the ministry would take a decision on the future of the airline based on a DGCA report to be submitted Thursday, PTI reported.

The debt-ridden airline was running under a contingency plan with scaled down schedules and minimum aircraft. Kingfisher Airlines has a total debt burden of over $1.4 billion and has not posted any profit since its inception in 2005. The company owes about $600 million to creditors, lenders, suppliers and employees in salary dues and operating expenses.  

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