As its promoters finalise a stake sale deal with Gulf carrier Etihad, labour unrest seems to be brewing in Jet Airways with its technicians wearing black bands to protest an alleged move to freeze salary hikes and the pilots deciding to meet on the same issue shortly.
A section of Jet technicians started a 'symbolic' protest by wearing black bands last Friday to protest the "management's proposed move to freeze wage hike over the next 2-3 years", sources among the agitators said.
"Though we have signed the salary contract, the final date of payment has not been committed by the management. We have called a meeting of pilots in Delhi on February one to discuss the issue," a source said, adding this would be followed up by one in Mumbai a few days later.
When contacted, a Jet Airways spokesperson said the airline "has always adopted a conciliatory open door policy with all its staff including its technicians.
"In addition, a management team is in constant dialogue and discussions with the technicians, in explaining to them the commercial and other challenges given the present economic state of the global aviation industry at large and the airline in particular. This is expected to address the issues under discussion, but would also help resolve all future issues through this mechanism."
The spokesperson said "as a socially conscious corporate, the airline is aware of all its obligations. Jet Airways has always made salary disbursals as per a pre-determined schedule of dates, which are internally communicated to the staff. Jet Airways has always met and will continue to honour all its obligations to its employees and external stakeholders alike."
However, the agitators said apart from the proposed salary hike freeze, there were several issues like non-payment of arrears which were being negotiated with the management.
"But every time we have taken up these issues with the management, their only response has been that the company does not have the money to pay," the source said.