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AI unions warn government of industrial unrest

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New Delhi/Mumbai: In a stern warning to the government, national passenger carrier Air India’s employee unions have asked it not to accept the proposal to privatise the airline.

“We would like to communicate to you the genuine apprehensions of the employees and urge you both in the interest of the country and in the interest of employees, both serving and retired, not to accept the fortnight hurried recommendations by the NITI AYOG,” a letter sent jointly by seven unions of Air India to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has said.

“…and be pleased not to force the employees of Air India to agitate which will lead to industrial unrest and disharmony more so at a time when Air India is definitely turning around and earning profits,” the letter dated June 15 said.

The letter stated that trade unions which represent a cross section of employees of Air India were “pained and shocked to have been subjected to this arbitrary and unilateral recommendations of the NITI AYOG.”

In a recent report to the Civil Aviation Ministry, the NITI Aayog recommended strategic disinvestment from the loss-making Air India, by which government control would be transferred to a private owner.

On May 30, Civil Aviation Minister Raju said several options and alternatives are available for restoring the financial health of the national passenger carrier.

Raju said that the NITI Aayog has already submitted several suggestions to restore the financial health of the national passenger carrier and these are being examined.

On June 5, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government should have exited the airline more than a decade ago.

The minister in an interview to CNBC TV18 asked why should the tax-payer’s money worth Rs 55,000-60,000 crore be invested to save the debt-ridden airline.

“Civil aviation is turning into a good success story in India… we have a lot of private sector players running very efficient airlines in India,” Jaitley told CNBC TV18 in the interview.

“Therefore, how fair is it for the government to occupy 14 per cent of the market share and then say some Rs 55,000-60,000 crore of tax-payer’s money must get into this whole process?” (IANS)