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The trade union tussle against Govt's move to privatise Air India

Air India unions majority of them opposed to the government's decision to privatize the airline are scheduled to meet in Delhi next week to discuss their strategy against the disinvestment process.

Trade Union sources said efforts are on to bring all staff unions of Air India including those of the pilots and engineers under one platform and work out a strategy to deal with the situation arising out of the government’s decision to offload its stake in the flag carrier.

In the last few months, several Air India unions have held discussions at an individual level with the management on the issue of disinvestment but no breakthrough was achieved.

The Unions have now felt the need for all of them to come together and talk to the government in one voice on airline’s privatisation, sources said

Air India, which has over 15,000 employees on its roll, has as many as six recognised unions, representing ground and commercial staff, pilots, cabin crew and engineers, among others, besides, several unrecognised unions.

The Government has decided to go for its strategic disinvestment and the modalities are being worked out by a Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a bid to revive the perennially loss making state undertaking. Its debts have piled up to over Rs sixty thousand crores.

Significantly, seven Air India unions have already expressed their opposition to the airline’s privatisation and it remains to be seen how the government will persuade them to change their line.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had given in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries a few months ago.

The government has already invited applications for engaging up to two advisers, a legal adviser and asset valuer for the strategic disinvestment of Air India and its subsidiaries/ joint venture. Sources said government is not inclined to sell the airlines equity to foreign airlines.


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