Halt privatisation, Air India unions request Centre

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

According to Air India employees, there has been no official communication on the issue.

Media reports claimed that AI will be privatised soon.

Mumbai: The Air India unions have written a letter to Jayant Sinha, minister of state for civil aviation, asking him to hold a meeting to discuss the privatisation of the airline. The employees have stated that they want to sort out all issues so that the national carrier could be saved from being privatised.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association, the All India Aircraft Engineers Association, the Indian Aircraft Technicians Association and the Air India Employees’ Union jointly submitted the letter dated June 18 to the minister, saying that the reports regarding the privatisation of the airline had disturbed the employees, hence the need for a meeting.

According to Air India employees, there has been no official communication on the issue. Media reports have so far been their only source of information.

An Air India official said, “There are various issues that privatisation could lead to. The media reports about the after effects of privatisation are worrying and hence we want to give our suggestions to the minister to sort them out.”

The employees have also pointed to the Prime Minister announcement last year about operating profit of the airline and felt that it was strange the government was keen on privatisation of the national carrier after a year.

“If the debt is waived off, we can run the airline in profit as the airline has started making operating profits. Why should the profit be given to private parties and not the government after waiver? Hence we have requested for a meeting to suggest and speak about the issue and various ways that can be adopted as a solution to the national airline’s debt,” said one of the union members.

There are other issues too that they would like to discuss with the minister. For instance, since 2012, the airline cut 25% from the salary of employees as a hold that would be returned later. These dues are currently pegged at Rs 1800 crore. Wage arrears cases too are ending.