Following delays in salary disbursement, now the flight attendants of Jet Airways have been given the option of taking ‘leave without pay’ for up to 50 days.
While this first-come-first-serve option, offered to Delhi and Mumbai-based crew only, is claimed to be in the interest of the employees, analysts see it as an indicator of worse financial troubles. The ‘leave without pay’ offer was first given to the cabin crew of the Boeing 737 planes about four months back. Now the offer has been extended to the crew of Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s.
According to Jet, this offer is aimed to bring about better symmetry between work–life balance and operational obligations. Those interested in taking up the offer have been asked to apply for the same between November 1 and December 20. However, the in-flight supervisors cannot avail this facility.
There is a 4,000 strong cabin crew in Jet Airways alone, which is in excess of its requirement. Their salaries range between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1,20,000, including various allowances. Many of these crew members are kept on standby, for which they are paid allowance, transport, and so on. By offering them leave without pay Jet plans to save costs.
With a gross debt of Rs 8,620 crore and net losses of Rs 724.94 crore in 2017–18, the carrier’s negative net worth is more than Rs 7,000 crore. The Airline has been defaulting on salary disbursements for some time now and has been buying time for the same.