Unions of Air India meet in Mumbai to oppose privatisation

Mumbai: The representatives of all unions of Air India on Wednesday met at the office of the Air India Aircraft Engineers Association (AIAEA) in Mumbai.

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The meeting took place to draw out a plan of action to oppose the “privatisation” of Air India and to protect the jobs, service conditions and welfare facilities of retired and serving employees of the national carrier.
Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), Aviation Industry Employees Guild (AIEG), All-India Service Engineers Association (AISEA), IPCA, ACEU, AIEU amongst others extended their full support for the forum decision.

“All representatives present in the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with the Management/Government for keeping the employees and unions in the dark about the process of privatisation and also stated that at the last meeting with the CMD of Air India, there was no clarity on most issues including payment of arrears, provident fund, gratuity, pension, promotion policies, etc,” a release by the union said.

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The unions said that they would take a call after consulting with a senior counsel on suitable legal options.

According to the release, the representatives of Air India unions will send a letter to the committee of all central trade unions and follow up with a meeting to apprise them of concerns and apprehensions and urge them to take necessary steps to pressurise the government in this regard.

In the meetings, the unions decided that a letter will be written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation/ Management of Air India/ Prime Minister expressing our strong opposition to the privatisation of Air India and the failure of the government to protect jobs, service conditions and other benefits of serving and retired employees.

A meeting will also be demanded with the Ministry to discuss and decide all major common issues of employees, the release said.

Earlier in August this year, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said that the government is determined to privatise Air India and people are interested in buying it.

“The government’s determination to privatise Air India is a given. We have to get the best possible deal and get it in the shortest time available. People are very much interested in acquiring Air India… Total privatisation will be done in the shortest possible time and with the best deal. People are keen on acquiring Air India because it is a first-rate airline. Whoever acquires Air India will be very fortunate and will be able to run it according to strong private sector principles,” said Puri.

The Parliament on August 3 passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019, that increases the threshold of annual passenger traffic for major airports to over 35 lakh with Civil Aviation stating that the government was committed to privatisation of Air India as its debt has become totally unsustainable.

The Bill, which seeks to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008, had earlier been passed by Rajya Sabha.

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