December 27, 2019

Air India Employees’ Unions May Approach The National Company Law Tribunal Or Strike In Bid To Stall Privatization

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


Air India employees are in the process to deciding to either take the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) route to recover their dues or declare a general strike to exert pressure on the government against privatizing the national carrier.

The two options were arrived after all the recognized Air India unions and other employee bodies met in Mumbai recently.

The decision to consider either the NCLT route or the strike comes days after the airline's pilots and engineers demanded immediate payment of their dues.

“We all met today and have decided that the privatization exercise should cease immediately and some clarity should be provided first,” a senior office bearer of the AI engineers' union said.

Incidentally, the central government is likely to issue the expression of interest (EoI) for divestment of its stake in national passenger carrier during January 2020.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah heads the panel looking after the divestment process of Air India. Its other members include Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, besides the Civil Aviation Minister.

In the previous Modi government, then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had headed the ministerial panel, called the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM).

After failing to find a bidder then, the government has been working on a war footing to sell Air India to a private player.

Air India has a total debt of about Rs 58,000 crore. The cumulative loss of the national carrier is to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore. In the financial year ending March 31, 2019, the airline is estimated to have had a loss of Rs 7,600 crore.

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