The impasse within Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) deepened on Wednesday as employees battled with the company management over the offer of a portion of pending salaries and resumption of duties from October 26.
While the airline's lockout was scheduled to end only on November 6, employees were expected to return on Friday - which is also the day when the airline's flamboyant chairman, Vijay Mallya, is expected to attend the Formula-1 Grand Prix motoring race in Greater Noida amid reports that he would face staff protests.
Company sources said Mallya was keen on attending the Formula-1 event, and wanted the ongoing strike to be wrapped up before it begins.
Company CEO Sanjay Aggarwal claimed that “most” of the airlines employees had sent their confirmation for resumption of duty from October 26, and requested the rest to send their acceptance at their earliest.
However, KFA employees claimed that “most” employees have actually rejected the offer. “The chief executive's (Sanjay Aggarwal) claim is grossly incorrect. Around 90% of the employees have rejected the offer outright. We adhere to our demand for payment of four months’ salary by October 26,” said Subhash Chandra Mishra, an airline employee.
The management has offered only three months’ salary, that too in instalments, while payment for seven months is pending. The strike led to the company declaring a lockout on October 1.
While the country discussed the fate of nearly 6,000 employees in what was once his pet project, Mallya — known for his lavish and flamboyant lifestyle — has been remarkably silent, remaining inaccessible to all.
“I travel 24x7 to places where my multiple work responsibilities take me. Sections of the media call me an absconder because I don’t talk to them,” Mallya tweeted on Tuesday.