Mumbai: Once 'Kings', this company's employees now resort to temporary jobs
The COVID-19 pandemic adds to the financial hardships of bust travel giant's employees, pushing them to temporary jobs like driving autos, delivering supplies, and selling fish and T-shirts
From working as executives to driving autos or selling fish or a living, former employees of bankrupt travel giant Cox & Kings continue to suffer, since it shut down its offices without giving them pending dues. The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has appointed a resolution professional for the company as it defaulted on a loan. The company had 2,500 staffers countrywide. Many of the Mumbai-based employees have pending dues in the range of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 70 lakh.
With loans to repay, children to be educated, and in one case treatment of cancer on their mind, many of them have been forced to take up odd jobs to support their families. While the India offices shut down in October 2019, the employees were allegedly not paid since June 2019.
Some of them narrate their ordeal:
Age : 45
Designation: Airport Representative
Years of service: 16
Dues: Rs 12 lakh
Asif Attar lives with his mother, wife and two kids in Bhandup. "From December 2019, I freelanced, but COVID-19 came and international travel shut down. Four months before I used to earn R80,000 a month," he said. Attar had to break a fixed deposit that he had saved for his kids' education. After the first unlock, Attar decided to do any job he could. "As many people had gone to their hometowns, auto owners were looking for drivers. I knew how to drive, so I took up the job," Attar said. "Now, every day I have to pay R200 to the owner for a shift of eight hours. If the day is good, I get more than Rs 300 per day after paying the owner. Recently, I also started supplying onions and potatoes in the neighbourhood," he said.
Designation: Reservation Executive
Years of service: 6
Dues pending: more than Rs 3 lakh
With a home loan, personal loan and his family to take care of, Talegaonkar didn't know what to do. "First I had to sell my bike, on which I had made several Sunday riding trips. One of my friends told me, as people are scared of going out, I could do door-to-door delivery of groceries" he said. He started taking orders from the neighbourhood for home delivery of groceries. He also started selling food items and juices. "It's tough, as I am risking the lives of my child and old mother. But I had no option, nor do I have one now," he added. He earns a meagre Rs 100 when he sells stuff worth Rs 1,000. "I used to get a salary of Rs 65,000 but I couldn't even earn 25% of the sum," he said.
Designation: Senior Manager
Years of service: 13
Dues pending: Rs 70 lakh
After the company shut down, Waghmare had no earnings and was detected with cancer two months later. "I started treatment but ran out of savings. I then sold all our jewellery and surrendered an LIC policy," said Waghmare. Now friends and family pay for his treatment. "The company has to pay me Rs 60 lakh to Rs 70 lakh in pending salary, gratuity and other dues. It will help in my treatment and secure the future of my family," he said. He has even planned to sell his house but feels he won't get the market price in the current situation.
Designation: International ticketing executive
Years of service: 1
Dues pending: Rs 3 lakh
"My dues are over Rs 3 lakh. I didn't want people to know I am doing this work. But now I have no shame. I sell fish at Kurla (W) and have started selling shirts, T-shirts and dress material online," said Rane. "The pending dues could have helped employees in such a difficult time. I will continue selling fish and doing other jobs till I get a stable job," said Rane.
When in October Cox & Kings shut its India offices
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