By next month, the Centre will issue the expression of interest EoI for divestment of its stake in the national carrier, Air India. The employees’ unions were called for a meeting and told about the EoI and what the consequences would be.
The employees have been told that their job safety cannot be guaranteed in the new private entity for more than a year after privatisation.
While the management is trying to negotiate for a three-year job security, right now, after completion of a year from the time of privatisation, it will be up to the new owners to decide the fate of the staff. Being a private entity, the leaves of the staff will not be eligible for encashment either. While their gratuity will be covered, the employees will not be able to avail medical facilities after retirement. Also, they will only get travel passes on Air India flights on the basis of market standards.
Even though the management has assured the unions that the interests of the employees will be protected, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the divestment process and the future of the carrier.
The Government is putting in all possible efforts to find a bidder for the Airline, which has debts to the tune of over 50,000 crore. At the end of 31 March 2019, Air India reported a loss of approx. Rs 7,600 crore. Its cumulative loss amounts to approx. Rs 70,000 crore!