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October 20, 2012

Will the 'King of good times' make the ending good

Only yesterday received a resume from an ex-employee of Kingfisher, a cabin crew looking for a job in HR. That had me googling for how the staff at Kingfisher has been affected by the crisis faced by the airlines. News pieces on Kingfisher's current crisis and the unfortunate status of the staff have become a regular part of the newspapers. Once the second largest shareholder in the Indian domestic air travel sector, Kingfisher Airlines today is at the verge of bankruptcy.

Since its inception in 2003 the airline added many more carriers to its fleet but could never really show profit on books. Kingfisher reported a loss of Rs. 1,151.50 crore in the March quarter. With a debt of over Rs. 7,500 crore, Kingfisher Airlines has also accumulated losses of about the equal value. Due to huge losses pay to staff and vendors has been a sad state of affair. Many a vendors are knocking the court doors on account of non payment of dues.

The regrettable suicide of a ground staff’s wife in Delhi alleging non payment of salary as a cause has led The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to start a case against the beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines chief and liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

And amongst all this uncertainty Kingfisher has announced good pay hike for its top brass. Not a very positive message for employees still waiting pay. To go without salary for seven long months is tough for sure. The financial crisis is very real and not much of hope can be seen on the horizon. The thought that keeps gnawing here is; could the management have handled the situation better.

Companies going bankrupt, resulting in job loss of employees is not new but how organizations factor in the components to make the experience as less unpleasant as possible is a lesson we can learn.

Rather than keeping the employees in dark about the hovering clouds, early and open communication from the management is preferred. Providing regular updates and information to the staff, coz inaccurate and incomplete information from secondary sources will create an environment of distrust.

Understanding the legal obligations and educating the staff about the course of action is important here.

And in cases were closing down of operations looks like the only resort, providing assistance to the existing staff in finding better opportunities for themselves is also a way to offer support.

‘The King of good times’ is going through very bad times and although the management repeatedly has come out with statements to keep the confidence and hope alive the future does not look too bright. We as customers might not be keen to ‘give them another opportunity to serve us soon’ but would look towards a good farewell to its staff.

Tags : Kingfisher, Bankruptcy, kingfisher staff, Vijay Mallya, salary crisis, job loss

About Nivedita

Nivedita has almost six years of experience in the HR domain. In her current role with an IT company, she manages the talent acquisition and talent management initiatives of the organization. She has been honored a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resources. She began her career in 2005 and has been working in the different domains of Human Resources ever since.