Kingfisher crisis: Staff sets Tuesday 8pm deadline
Mumbai/New Delhi: Facing heat from restive employees, Kingfisher airlines boss Vijay Mallya promised to clear the outstanding salaries from Wednesday after tax authorities unfroze bank accounts but the staff on Monday demanded part payment of dues by Tuesday itself setting a 8pm deadline.
Mallya's promise failed to cut ice with several pilots and staff of the cash-strapped carrier failing to report for duty today to protest delays in salaries leading to cancellation of at least ten flights from Delhi and Mumbai.
The airline's employees, who have not been paid since last December, put the airline on notice to pay two months' salaries and dues by Tuesday 8 PM and clear the remaining dues by April 20.
The employees held day-long discussions with top Kingfisher officials including Executive Vice President Hitesh Patel at a Mumbai hotel to resolve the situation.
Mallya, in his mail to the staff yesterday, admitted that the salaries were "seriously overdue" and promised to pay their salaries and other dues in a staggered manner starting April 4.
The employees were informed that tax authorities, which had frozen 40 bank accounts last December, had unfrozen them on Saturday.
In his letter, Mallya said "the formalities of un- freezing our bank accounts was completed on March 31 following our payment of Rs 44 crore to the Income Tax and Rs 20 crore to the Service Tax authorities.
"My only focus now is to start paying your seriously overdue salaries. All junior staff will be paid before the Easter that is on April 4th. All pilots and engineers will be paid on April 9th and April 10th."
Mallya said payments had to be staggered due to the three bank holidays falling this week on April 2, 5 and 6.
But the employees in response to Mallya's promise remained unconvinced and reportedly conveyed to him that similar assurances were made in the past. The employees are feeling cheated, they said, adding the situation has come to a point where operations have become unsafe due to stress caused by the staff's financial constraints.