Air India employees appeal to Gadkari to protect jobs

Air India aircraft photographed at Mumbai International Airport on July 24, 2009.

A union of Air India employees on Friday met Union minister Nitin Gadkari and appealed to him to protect their jobs as the government prepares to privatise the national carrier.

Air India’s Employees Union (AIEU), representing the airline’s non-technical staff also submitted a memorandum to Transport Minister Gadkari and appealed that the government waive Air India’s debt and allow the existing management to run the company instead of selling it to a private player.

Gadkari is part of the group of ministers constituted by the Union Cabinet to chalk out a strategy for disinvestment of Air India.

“In case of privatisation, Air India employees are concerned about the fate of its permanent employees and demand job security, welfare facilities such as medical, provident fund, passages, staff transport, canteen are to be retained during service and also after retirement of employees,” the union wrote in their letter to Gadkari.

They have also demanded that the airline clear their salary dues.

“AIEU would like to request the government to waive (Air India’s) debt and give opportunity to Air India to keep flying the flag of the national carrier,” the memorandum added.

Another union of Air India employees met the Air India chairman earlier this week in Delhi and they too pressed for “partial or complete” debt waiver for the airline.

The carrier has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore.