The employees of Jet Airways are staring at an uncertain future for the airline and themselves as the latest communication from the chief executive officer
(CEO) gives no hope at all for any sort of interim relief.
In a letter written to the employees today afternoon,
CEO Vinay Dube has said that neither the lenders nor the promoters are ready to infuse any interim funding for payment of pending salaries after multiple rounds of discussions and meetings.
"Your leadership team has spent the last few days trying to convince the consortium of Indian banks (led by
State Bank of India ) to release some funds for our employees while continuing to support the bank led bid process for Jet Airways. We have told them repeatedly that our employees are facing grave hardships owing to non-payment of their salaries and that if this were to continue any longer, our employees will have no option but to find employment elsewhere. Unfortunately, the banks have said that they are unable to make any salary commitments, if at all, until after the bidding process is complete," Dube wrote in the letter to employees.
While pilots, engineers and senior management await salaries of the past three months starting January, all other employees await salaries of March. The airline has a total of 16,000 direct and over 6,000 contractual staff.
"While on the one hand, we are being told to preserve the value of Jet Airways during the bid process, on the other hand, with no salary payment, some of our colleagues, who are the very fabric and value of this airline, have no choice but to find employment elsewhere. When we highlight the disappointing irony of this situation to the lenders, we are simply told that this problem is to be addressed by the company’s shareholders, who should and could have agreed on a Resolution Plan a long time ago," the letter further read.
The company's leadership team has also held "considerable deliberations" in the various Board meetings regarding the availability of emergency funding "from the promoter and Strategic Shareholder (Etihad Airways) for payment of salary arrears, with no favourable outcome."
The company's senior management team currently comprises 18 members, including group executive officer Capt Hameed Ali, whole time director Gaurang Shetty, CEO Dube, CFO Amit Agarwal, chief strategy officer Rajesh Prasad, executive vice-president product and services Jayaraj Shanmugam, executive vice president Capt Nikhil Ved, chief people officer Rahul Taneja, general counsel Ashok Barimar, senior vice president finance Ravichandran Narayan, senior vice president marketing, e-commerce and innovations Belson Coutinho, senior vice president cargo Pradeep Kumar, senior vice president network and revenue management Raj Sivakumar, vice president Praveen Iyer, vice president network Abhijit Dasgupta, vice president of inflight services Warakorn Komutanont, vice president corporate affairs and public relations Ragini Chopra and company secretary Kuldeep Sharma.
As per Jet Airways' annual report for 2017-18 (April-March), Dube's salary for FY18 stood at Rs 7.94 crore. Dube had joined the company as CEO on August 9, 2017. His perquisites for the same period stood at Rs 2.24 crore. In total, his remuneration stood at around Rs 11 crore. Remuneration to Gaurang Shetty for 2017-18 (April-March) stood at Rs 2.24 crore.
In a reference to the meetings held with union finance minister Arun Jaitley and home minister Rajnath Singh and letters written to the Prime Minister's Office, Dube also said that they have sought government's intervention and assistance at the highest levels but, that "too has not yielded positive results thus far.""While we will continue to support the Lender led bid process in our effort to leave no stone unturned, it pains us to communicate that no clarity or commitment on salaries has been provided by any of our stakeholders," Dube said.