One might not have foreseen such tough times for the low cost carriers, but the current embargo that Kingfisher is facing has created a row in the aviation industry. In the latest development, Kingfisher employees frustrated over not having received salaries for the last 10 months have urged the government to act tough with Kingfisher.
In what is been seen as a pressure tactic towards Vijay Mallya, the employees have threatened to disrupt IPL matches. In what is seen as a hard-hitting statement, Santosh Gautam, the president of Kingfisher Airlines Maintenance Association has pointed out that if Gopal Kanda of MDLR can be prosecuted for suicide of Gitika Kanda, the government must prosecute Vijay Malaya as an employee of Kingfisher too had committed suicide owing to the financial crisis in the airlines.
Team Royal Challenge Bangalore being promoted by Vijay Malaya will have to face some hard time as the employee union has decided to disrupt the IPL matches in which the said team participates. Another employee pointed out that during the Formula 1 race, fearing disruption Vijay Malaya had paid one-month salary. Such tactic would not be tolerated this time and the association has decided to disrupt the matches in which team Kingfisher played.
This is indeed a cause of concern as none from the government is paying attention to the plight of the airlines employees who are facing hard times owing to grounding of Kingfisher flights since the last 10 months.
Meanwhile, in an all out effort to stop the team Kingfisher from participating in the upcoming IPL series, the employee association has appealed to the Royal Challenge Bangalore players to boycott the IPL series. It has also asked the BCCI to forbid the RCB players from playing in the IPL series.
This is a sorry state of affairs for Kingfisher that had started with much fanfare and has given the concept of low cost airlines a new meaning with others in the category adoring the innovative initiatives of Vijay Malaya. However, things started going wrong lately for Kingfisher and the airlines that had managed to go international had to wind up the domestic flights too.
As pointed out by the employee association, there is an imminent need for strengthening of labor laws and consider non-payment of salaries as a criminal offense. The cash strapped airlines is in deep trouble as it owns a loan of 7000 crore to a group of banks led by State Bank of India. The banks are making an all out effort to recover their dues and it is anybody’s guess if Vijay Malaya would be able to pay the salaries of its employees in such a situation.
Government of India has also got tough with Kingfisher saying that it cannot afford to pay off the loans or offer some kind of rebate to Vijay Malaya as the airlines was a pure commercial venture and it cannot be held responsible for the embargo.
The employees are meanwhile facing a tough time as the aviation sector is going though tough times and cannot absorb all those who have lost jobs in Kingfisher.