Air India Air Services (AIASL), which will now be providing ground handling services (GHA) to all the airlines being serviced by outgoing GHA, Bhadra International, is facing a tough situation with the contract staff of the latter at Kolkata.
About 380 contract staff of Bhadra working at the Kolkata airport want an assurance that each one of them will be absorbed by AIASL . They are demanding a written assurance from AIASL to this effect, failing which they have threatened to disrupt the normal functioning of the airport.
Given that the contract of Bhadra International is scheduled to expire on December 31, and the fact that AIASL has in the past refused to absorb about 152 employees of another agency, which was responsible for the ground handling of GoAir, the employees of Bhadra are not taking any chances.
Till now no flights or services have been disrupted. However, flight services of at least two airlines — Vistara and Air Asia — may be disrupted at the Kolkata airport on January 1, unless the fate of the 380 contract staff is decided and the issue is favourably resolved. The employees’ union has revealed its intention to continue its agitation more aggressively if all the workers are not taken on by AIASL.
The Union will submit a list of all the employees, who are currently under Bhadra’s contract, to the director of the airport.
The staff providing ground handling services perform many important tasks, such as they handle luggage, guide aircrafts into and out of parking position, tow with push-back tractors, cart water, drain lavatories, take care of passenger stairs, wheelchair lifts and hydraulic mules. If these workers decide to go on strike, passenger services and airline operations for the two domestic airlines will be severely impacted, as well as that of FlyDubai.