KATHMANDU, May 16: Employees of Necon Air, the coutry´s first private airlines that shut its operation in 2003 citing financial difficulties, have launched protests asking the company promoters to pay their outstanding salary which stands at around Rs 60 million.
As the part of the protest, Employees´ Struggle Committee on Tuesday locked up Dip Mani Rajbhandari, former managing director of the Airlines, at his office in Neco Complex in New Baneshor for eight hours. They let him out after he promised to settle the salary after holding talks with other directors.
Along with Bhandari, the company was promoted by three other directors.
The struggle committee members quoting Rajbhandari said he was not in the position to clear the bills as all the property owned by the company was taken by the banks as it did not settle millions of rupees it borrowed from them.
Sanjay Thakur, who served as an engineer in Necon Air and also the member of the committee said, “We do not care about other things as we are asking nothing but payment of salarly for hard work we put into the company.” He said the committee would continue different forms of protests, including locking up other directors, if their demand was not fulfilled by Thursday.
The employees of the defunct company had also moved the Labor Court in the past which issued verdict in their favor asking the then directors to pay salary of Rs 59.48 million to its 256 employees who lost their jobs.
"The verdict was issued almost nine years ago. However, the directors continued to ignore it all these years," said Thakur. "We cannot wait any longer and will force the directors to settle our outstanding salary."
The protest committee members had also met with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and requested him to take steps so they are paid.
Necon Air came into operation on September 1992. It had also issued shares to the public and was running successfully, operating domestic as well as international flights with six aircrafts including two ATR-42 and two Beechcraft.
The company shut down operations even while its reputation was flying high. And its promoters stopped appearing in public.