Difficult to pay salaries, Air India CMD confesses to employees

Mumbai: Has the head of state-owned carrier, Air India, confessed to his employees that he will find it difficult to pay their salaries? According to reports now circulating, Arvind Jadhav, chairman and managing director of Air India, may have made such a confession in a closed door meeting in Delhi with heads of employee unions on Monday.

Reportedly, Jadhav told union leaders that the government was extremely reluctant to invest in the badly struggling carrier and that the restructuring of Air India's mountain of debt - around Rs44,000 crore - was taking longer than expected.

Apparently, the meeting extended for well over eight hours.

Officials representing the major unions of Air India, including The Air India Cabin Crew Association, Air India Employees Guild, the Indian Pilots Guild and Indian Commercial Pilots Association were present at the meeting.

In a statement, Air India described the meeting as routine. "The management has always shared the ground realities with all its employees. There is no doubt about Air India being in financial difficulty. The CMD apprised the employees of this difficulty and sought their support to unitedly work for the success of the TAP and for coming out of the present situation. All stake-holders - including employees - have to contribute to this herculean task of making Air India profitable," it said.

The meeting took place a day before Air India finally cleared salaries for the month of May, a month behind schedule, and that too just the basic component. The Performance Linked Incentive (PLI), which is the major component of salaries, has not been paid since April. The PLI component alone accounts for between 50-80% of salaries.