Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Jet staff union says it won't allow job cuts

The All India Jet Airways Officers and Staff Association, representing ground staff, security and cargo workers, said it would resist any move to cut workforce. The airline, on its part, on Wednesday denied staff retrenchment plans.

"Our charter of demands for pay revision and promotions is being negotiated. Till this is pending, the management can't take any decision regarding job cuts. We will not allow it,'' said Kiran Pawaskar, union president and Nationalist Congress Party legislator.

Last month, the Jet management had sounded department heads to prepare for lay-offs and lists were being prepared. Sources said the airline was keeping tabs on employee productivity with a view to enhance performance and reduce costs. "We heard meetings were held at senior management level on the issue of retrenchment, but nothing was communicated to us,'' a union member said.

Wednesday, however, the airline vehemently denied plans to cut its staff and said it was focused on cutting costs in other areas. Girish Kaushik, president of the airline's pilot union, said there was no move to cut pilots’ strength. "In fact, such a possibility of job cut does not arise because of a tremendous shortage of pilots,'' he said.

Jet has an employee strength of 10,000. The airline posted a loss of Rs 128 crore in the first quarter due to high fuel costs. Its losses in the second quarter are expected to widen due to spiraling costs and increased competition in the domestic and international routes.

At its annual general meeting, the management had spelled out it would aggressively look at cost cutting. "We are addressing the issue of cost structure,'' the airline's chief commercial officer Sudheer Raghavan said, adding the management was focussed on issues like employee productivity, use of information technology, reducing overheads and distribution costs.

"We are not touching our staff,'' a senior executive of the airline told Business Standard.

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