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Vistara announces mandatory leave without pay of up to 3 days for 30% staff

Vistara CEO Leslie Thng on Friday announced senior employees will be going on compulsory leave without pay of up to three days as a measure to further reduce the airline’s cost amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The compulsory no pay leave will affect around 1,200 employees in senior grades. The remaining 2,800 employees of the airline such as members of cabin crews and ground handling services will be unaffected.

“While we are doing all possible, including a recruitment freeze, we have to look at other means to further reduce our cost,” Thng said in an email to employees, which has been accessed by PTI.

“Therefore, for the period 1st Apr to 14th Apr 2020, all staff (except for staff in Level 1A and 1B) will be required to go on a few days of Compulsory No Pay Leave (CNPL) as follows: Staff in Level 4 and 5 to go on three days CNPL, Staff in Level 2 and 3 to go on two days CNPL, Staff in Level 1C to go on one day CNPL,” he said.

Thng said the annual salary increment exercise for all eligible staff will be deferred from April to July 1 and an appropriate decision shall be taken then.

“For staff in Level 2 and above, the annual pay-out for Variable Performance Pay (VPP) will be deferred to July 2020,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a nationwide lockdown from March 25 to April 14 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In this time period, all domestic and international commercial passenger flights remain suspended.

Thng said in his email: “With the lockdown till April 14, 2020, we will not be able to operate any commercial flight during this period. This has a huge negative impact on our cash flow as we will not be able to generate any revenue with all our operations temporarily suspended.”

“As mentioned in my message dated March 16, 2020, in order to reduce cost and conserve cash, we have started engaging our key partners and suppliers to reduce our immediate operating expenditure and discretionary expenditures have been avoided wherever possible,” he said.

Various other Indian airlines have already announced their cost-cutting measures as there has been a drastic fall in revenues due to the situation arising out of the the coronavirus outbreak.

IndiGo has announced that its senior employees would be taking a pay cut of up to 25 per cent. GoAir has laid off its expat pilots, introduced leave without pay for employees on a rotational basis, and announced a pay cut for all employees.

The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, and therefore, Thng told his employees that he will provide another update to them before April 14.

“In the meantime, the leadership team together with our corporate office colleagues are formulating action plans so as to be fully ready when we resume our operations, and to emerge stronger,” the Vistara CEO said.

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