Unpaid Kingfisher staff threatens to disrupt IPL matches

Irate at not being paid their salaries for the last 10 months, employees of the grounded Kingfisher Airlines today asked the government to prosecute the airline's promoter Vijay Mallya and also threatened to disrupt Indian Premier League matches featuring Mallya's Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The employees have decided to protest at IPL venues where the liquor baron's team plays.

Last November, the employees had similarly threatened to stage protests during the Formula I GP at Greater Noida, where Mallya's team Force India was competing, but relented after Mallya promised to pay three months' pay in instalments before Diwali.

"If Gopal Kanda, promoter of MDLR airlines, can be prosecuted for the suicide of an employee, why can't the government prosecute Vijay Mallya for suicide of the family member of his employees," said Santosh Gautam, president of Kingfisher Airlines Maintenance Association.

Another employee said, "Last time, when Formula 1 race was being organised here, afraid of our protests, Kingfisher management paid our salary of one month and assured to pay the dues in instalments, but they have failed to keep their promises. This time, we will protest outside the venue wherever RCB team plays their matches."

The protesting employees have urged the team's players to boycott their matches. They have also asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not to allow Royal Challengers to participate in the upcoming IPL season.

 The employees asked the government to amend labour laws making non-payment of salaries a criminal offence, and said "the Supreme Court should take suo motu cognizance of our matter in specific and in general for overall reforms required for the benefit of the working class."

Seeking an early intervention on the issue, the employees have written letters to the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra.