While there are speculations of Vijay Mallya being abroad and questions have been raised to locate him, frustrated and dejected employees of Kingfisher Airlines have been waiting for justice. While some employees managed to get a job after years of trials, some of them have managed to get a new job recently. Be it pilots, ground staff of the administrative staff, all of them await their long pending dues and salaries.
An ex-Kingfisher airline employee, now flying for a private company, requesting anonymity explained, “I was jobless for three long years and I cannot forget the difficulties life showed me during these years. Many of my pilot friends from the airline, in order to get in to a payroll, have even accepted demotion and managed to enter a new company. The worst situations that we have suffered and seen. Our families getting affected are something we can never forget in life.”
Another ex-employee, who worked as a ground staff at Kingfisher, explained, “I had been handling worst situations when the airline was seeing the downfall. There were situations when the passengers were seated in the aircraft for take off and the pilot used to report saying he wouldn’t fly as he hasn’t received his salary. The load was then completely on the ground staff, and handling the angry passengers was the toughest time we would have, only to not get paid. Pressure kept building from family to leave the job but I stayed as I was one of the senior employees and believed Mallya would not let us go as he always termed us to be his family.”
One such ex-employee of the Kingfisher airline Imran Shaikh, who headed the Human Resource Management for more than seven years believes it to be his ‘bad phase’ when he was looking put for jobs but wasn’t able to do so.
Recalling the phase Shaikh, who is currently occupied in a company since few months said, “I wanted marry after I could get a new job, but had to tie knot due to family pressure. Coming from a middle-class family, having such an important event at such a phase was one of the biggest challenges that time.” He also recalls his tough time when he had to break his policies to manage all the required medicines for both his ailing parents. “My father is a heart patient and mother a diabetic. The airline had started facing issues since 2012 and we had stopped receiving our salaries from 2013. I thank God that that phase of my life has finally passed away but I am completely nil as of now. I had to break all my policies and have now started afresh.”
A protest regarding the same was held at Kingfisher House, and led by Anirudh Ballal, who worked for the airline's ground services department till 2012, on Wednesday. The property is now in possession of banks, which lent over Rs.7000 crore to the airline.
"The banks can attach properties and tax department can seize Mallya's personal jet. But we do not have any option. We want our salaries and want the government to help us," said Ballal, who currently works in a ground handling agency.