All India Jet Airways Officers and Staff Association on Thursday, May 26 said it has filed an appeal before the NCLAT against the Jalan-Kalrock consortium’s resolution plan for the airline.
In October 2020, the airline’s Committee of Creditors (CoC) approved the resolution plan submitted by the UK’s Kalrock Capital consortium and the UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan. The Mumbai bench later cleared the plan of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
Last week, Jet Airways’ air operator certificate was revalidated by the aviation regulator DGCA, paving the way for the relaunch of the airline, which was grounded in April 2019 due to financial woes.
“The resolution plan is contingent on many hypotheticals about the use of crucial assets of the former Jet Airways, including its property, flight slots, and most importantly, its workers and employees,” All India Jet Airways’ Officers and Staff Association President Kiran Pawaskar said in a statement.
In its petition before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), the association has prayed for complete payments of the gratuity, unpaid wages, privilege leave encashment, bonus from April 2018 to June 2019 and retrenchment compensation to all workers and employees, the statement said.
Among others, the association has demanded that any employee re-hired by the resolution applicant or the Monitoring Committee are paid their gratuity, unpaid wages, privilege leave encashment, bonus and retrenchment compensation as per their entitlements and that any signed document for the waiver/forfeiture of these amounts not be enforced against them.
The airline, which is expected to restart services in the coming months, is managed by the Monitoring Committee.
Narayan Hariharan, former Senior Vice President of Jet Airways and legal advisor to employees, said the resolution plan is “precariously held together by a vague business plan”.
The airline is forcing workers to waive all their statutory rights they are owed, particularly gratuity, privilege leave, unpaid salary and bonus, the association claimed.
The airline was earlier owned by Naresh Goyal and Gulf carrier Etihad. Bogged down by financial woes, the full-service carrier shuttered operations in April 2019.
Later, a consortium of lenders, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), filed an insolvency petition in June 2019 to recover outstanding dues worth over INR 8,000 crore.
The plan submitted by the consortium of UK’s Kalrock Capital and UAE-based entrepreneur Murari Lal Jalan was cleared by the Mumbai bench of the NCLT in June 2021.
As per the resolution plan submitted by JKC and approved by NCLAT in June 2021, the new owners would pay a total sum of INR 52 crore to workmen and employees apart from a 0.5% stake in the airline out of the total investment of INR 1,345 crore.
The amount of INR 52 crore would be spent to pay a token sum of INR 11,000 to each employee and workman and a future ticket worth INR 10,000.
Workmen would also get INR 5,100 in cash for medical expenses, another INR 5,100 as school fee reimbursement for children, one-time mobile recharge of INR 500 and a phone or laptop out of the existing assets.
This proposal, however, lapsed after only 35.1% out of the 8,973 eligible employees voted in favour of the offer, while 61.6% abstained.
Since the approval, many former staff had approached the labour department over non-payment of gratuity and other dues. Various associations such as BKS and Jet Airways Cabin Crew Association had also filed an appeal before the NCLAT last month against the NCLT order.
Jet Airways posts INR 234 crore loss in March quarter
Jet Airways, which remains grounded for over two years reported a standalone net loss of INR 233.63 crore for the three months ended March. It had a standalone net loss of INR 107.01 crore in the year-ago period, according to a regulatory filing.
Total income stood at INR 11.63 crore in the latest March quarter compared to INR 17.73 crore in the year-ago period. Currently, the airline is being managed by a monitoring committee.
“… the monitoring committee is not in a position to provide the consolidated financial results, as the subsidiaries of the company are separate legal entities, also currently non-operational and the team is facing huge difficulty in obtaining relevant data from the said subsidiaries,” the filing said.