Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, met 13 employee unions of the national carrier, Air India, and assured them that the carrier will continue to be operational till the privatisation process is completed.
The employees at Air India were against the decision of privatisation of the national carrier. However, Puri explained to them that the Government does not have any other choice, as the airline has a liability of around Rs 80,000 crores. He explained that the Government does not have the funds to run the carrier anymore.
Puri also shared that the Government is trying to address issues related to job protection prior to the privatisation process. He demanded support from all the employee unions till the privatisation process is successfully completed.
Recently, the members of the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) requested in a letter that they should be exempted from serving the notice period as they were not getting paid on time. The letter said, “It is unfair of the Government of India to keep us bonded with the notice period when we are not being paid on time and our dues are not cleared.”
According to Puri, the notice period of pilots and engineers cannot be waived as it would be impossible for the carrier to function without them.
Earlier, in a statement, Puri said that if the Government did not find a buyer for Air India till 31 March, 2020, the operations will have to be shut down as a ‘matter of concern’.
The employees are worried that they will meet the same fate as that of Jet Airways’ employees.