Tuesday, July 09, 2019

AI unions seek job safety as sell off looms, pilots seek dues first

New Delhi: “Divestment is inevitable and I am meeting to get your views on how best to protect your interests.” Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani on Monday reiterated the government’s decision to sell off the debt-ridden airline to representatives of 13 unions representing different sections of employees on Monday morning, said a person who attended the meet. Almost all the unions opposed the move while the pilots focussed their concern mainly on the huge wage dues the airline has to them which they want to be cleared before the second attempt to disinvest in AI begins.
“It was conveyed to us that if there is no fund infusion from the government, there is no way the Maharaja can remain in the cut-throat competitive and cash-intensive airline business. So divestment is going to happen,” said a person who attended the meeting. Last Friday’s Budget has given Rs 1 lakh (repeat Rs 1 lakh only) to AI even as the airline has to repay Rs 10,000 crore of debt this fiscal.
Other union leaders (representing non-pilots) raised fears about job security if AI is sold off. “If a 53 or 54-year-old non-technical employee is laid off, who will employ him or her at that age? If divestment is inevitable, the government must give us a golden handshake, was the demand from them,” said a person in the know.
08/07/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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