Hope for Jet Airways employees? Union vows not to let airline go down, other key developments

ZeeBiz WebTeam | Apr 22, 2019, 12:13 PM IST

Grounded carrier Jet Airways, which ceased all operations temporarily last week, on Monday said its non-executive and non-independent director Nasim Zaidi has quit the board, citing personal reasons and time constraints. Zaidi, the former Chief Election Commissioner and ex- civil aviation secretary, had joined the airline in August 2018. However, Jet Airways, which is under the management control of State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders,  employees union said that they will neither let the airline go down nor tolerate casual talk to dismantle it "piece by piece". Amidst this latest development, here are a few key changes related to the ailing firm. 


All India Jet Airways Technicians Association (AIJATA), which has around 800 members, has written an open letter, which on Sunday came against the backdrop of Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha's reported comments that capable employees of Jet Airways would be absorbed by other airlines. The union's letter said that employees who have left have done so due to their financial condition and other commitments, adding "We will not let this company go down and will not tolerate this casual talk to dismantle this company piece by piece and give it as doles to airlines of your choice." Image source: Reuters



The letter reportedly said that many employees have been with Jet Airways for 15-25 years, adding "We have given our sweat, blood and tears to this company. Many of us who had left this company, have came back not once but twice and thrice." Image source: Reuters


Senior airline officials, including CEO Vinay Dube, on Saturday met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said a PTI report, adding that Dube said Jaitley had assured to look into the issues that forced the cash-strapped airline to halt operations temporarily. Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, the airline's chief financial officer Amit Agarwal, representatives of pilots, engineers, cabin crew and ground staff unions were also present at the meeting with Jaitley at his residence in Delhi, the report said. Image source: Reuters


At least one month's salary was needed to be paid to the employees for retaining them, Dube said, speaking to reporters later, and added, "To keep them where they are and to give them hope we need to pay them at least a month's salary or more. The finance minister has assured us to look into that." Image source: PTI


Dube further stated that Jet would require around Rs 170 crore to clear at least one month's salary of its employees. In the meeting, the Jet CEO reportedly said that competition in the aviation sector is "important" and requested the Union Finance Minister to ensure an "open, transparent and efficient" bidding process. Image source: Reuters


The Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Welfare Association (JAMEWA) also submitted a representation to Jaitley, saying "the airline is sinking for want of funds and taking away the livelihood of 23,000 people", adding that the grounding of the carrier has affected not only the airline's employees but others as well, such as the passengers who are not only stranded across airports but are also paying much higher price for the flights due to a sharp spike in air fares. Image source: Reuters


Meanwhile, lenders of Jet Airways have started the process for stake sale in the cash-strapped carrier. SBI, the lead lender of the seven-member consortium of domestic banks that have extended loans to the airline, has reportedly started the bidding process for stake sale in the carrier and clarity about potential bidders would emerge next month. Image source: Reuters