No end to KFA impasse; workers stage nation-wide protest

KFA employees are staging nation-wide protest following the cancellation of fresh talks between management and staff stipulated for today in Bangalore and Chennai.

Zeebiz Bureau

New Delhi/Mumbai: Crisis at the ailing Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) deepened further on Friday with employees of the beleaguered airline refusing to hold parleys with the management on resuming their duties.

KFA employees are also staging nation-wide protest following the cancellation of fresh talks between CEO Sanjay Agarwal and staff that were scheduled to be held today in Bangalore and Chennai.

As part of the protest, a group of employees held a march from Mumbai airport to Kingfisher House today morning, while employees stationed in Delhi are planning to hold a candlelight vigil later today.

The beleaguered airline got some respite yesterday as bankers agreed to release funds from escrow accounts, which is likely to release up to Rs 60 crore for the carrier.

KFA has extended its partial lockout by a week till October 12 as talks between its management and employees failed to break the deadlock over non-payment of salaries for the last seven months.

The airline also announced in the National Stock Exchange that its Company Secretary Bharath Raghavan has quit the company.

Regretting that the "illegal strike" by a section of the airline employees has still not been withdrawn and normalcy yet to be restored, a late night statement by Kingfisher said it is constrained to extend the partial lock-out upto October 12. The partial lock-out commenced on Monday evening.

About 100 Kingfisher employees, including engineers and pilots, took out a candle light march from domestic airport in Mumbai to Kingfisher house to mourn the death of Susmita, the wife of Manas Chakarvarti, a technician with the airline.

Kingfisher Airline CEO Sanjay Agarwal and Executive Vice President Hitesh Patel yesterday met Delhi-based staff, including engineers and pilots, to convince them to rejoin duty.

Sources said the management offered the March salary to the employees and promised to pay the remaining six months’ salary once the airline is recapitalised. This offer was rejected by the employees for the second time in two days.

Kingfisher stocks tumbled by about five percent, falling for the fourth straight day. The script tanked 4.79 percent to hit the lower circuit limit of Rs.13.90 on BSE.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had expressed doubts whether the carrier, facing a partial lockout, will resume its operations soon.

He said the airline should be in a position to get its planes certified and satisfy the DGCA that the schedule which they have given is maintained.

Concerned over the worsening crisis, Kingfisher's lenders held an emergency meeting in Mumbai to discuss the evolving situation.

In an apparent fallout of the worsening crisis in Vijay Mallya-owned private carrier, the wife of one of its Delhi- based employees allegedly committing suicide, blaming financial stress due to non-payment of salary to her husband for five months.

With Agency Inputs

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