Jet Airways crisis: NCLT-appointed team not in favour of employee demands
The first meeting between National Aviators Guild (NAG), the pilot union of Jet Airways and the Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) appointed by NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) to seek resolution for Jet Airways failed with IRP not agreeing to any of the demands set by the union body. The meeting was held on June 25 in Mumbai.
"We discussed various things but nothing was agreed to in the meeting," an employee aware of the developments said. After the meeting, the union body updated the employees on the developments.
In the meeting, it was emphasised that employee retention was the most important in these trying times. The issues that were discussed in the meeting were: (i) Three training rooms to be made available for one month for refreshers, (ii) Simulators to be made available for one month in Bengaluru, (iii) One month of salary to be paid to existing employees to stop attrition and, (iv) Claim form query.
It was clarified that 9W (Jet Airways) HR will submit the required data for the claim on behalf of all employees, including the ex-employees. The employees do not have to file any individual claims, as of now. Due to some reason, if the HR is unable to provide the required data, the employees will be informed and individual claims will then have to be made. Adequate time will be given to the employees to make their individual claims. The IRP will look into all the above issues on an urgent basis and revert.
India Today TV tried to reach to the IRP for its comments but couldn't.
The employees told India Today TV that they feared notices from the Income Tax (IT) department since there was no mechanism to safeguard their interests.
"Notices are bound to come. TDS for December, January, February and March haven't been paid. There is no clue on the gratuity as well. We have no idea what to do," an employee said on condition of anonymity.
Employees are also angry with the consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI).
"There is no one in the SBI who is ready to talk or understand our problems. I fail to understand why did the banks take it upon themselves to resolve the issue if they weren't in a position to settle the matter. Now that Naresh Goyal isn't there, we don't even know who we go to with our problems," another employee said.
Pondering over the latest state of affairs, another employee said, "Banks will get some money from liquidation but what about the employees who have put in hard work for all these years. We have no salary slip for April and May. Today, there is no HR and no accountability. How are the employees supposed to answer the agencies now?"
Vinod Shetty, Advocate Bombay High Court, said, "The central government must urgently ensure that the Jet employees be paid a financial package until the NCLT finalises the liquidation process. The new government must take immediate steps to protect employees affected by the spate of liquidation processes against companies."
Jet Airways employees also point out at the pathetic state of the existing Jet Airways aircraft.
"There are five aircraft still owned by Jet Airways but they are in such a bad state that they will fetch little value in case of liquidation. The Boeing 777 in Amerstdam will never be recovered owing to the high recovery costs on it now. It could have been recovered earlier when the amount was less but no one made any effort and now after all these weeks, with parking charges included, the cost will be sky high," an employee not wanting to be named said.
The NCLT-appointed IRP has three months time to come up with a resolution plan before the liquidation process can come into effect.
Former Air India Executive Director Jitendra Bhargava said that the "Kingfisher saga is being repeated without any lessons being learnt".
"Why do the government agencies give a long rope to corporates on depositing TDS after deduction. The rule needs to be amended at least in the case of companies defaulting or showing first signs of financial distress. Employees can't be at the receiving end at all times," he said.