Thursday, March 29, 2012

Air India unions up the ante

Air India unions up the ante

New Delhi, March 28: Eight unions of Air India, representing a large chunk of the over 28,000 staff, today threatened to go on strike from Monday to protest a delay in salary payments and sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to resolve the situation.

As the management called the agitating employees for talks tomorrow, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh tried to calm the protesters by saying that the government has "stood by them" before and would continue to do so.

"We are looking into the matter and we will come out with a solution," he added.

The eight major unions, representing a cross-section of staffers ranging from pilots, engineers to ground staff, wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying they would implement "no pay no work" policy from April 2 as the management was "withholding" their "legitimate wages".

The decision to go ahead with their proposed strike came after the unions failed to secure any "firm proposal" from the carrier for clearing their dues at a meeting with the management here today.

"We will no longer be able to bear this agony which has been thrust upon us for no fault of ours. Therefore, we reiterate that if the management continues to withhold our legitimate wages, we will not be able to discharge our duties from April 2. We appeal to you for your kind and urgent intervention to resolve the situation," the unions' joint memorandum to the Prime Minister said.

After a meeting last Thursday, the management had given a written commitment for a staggered payment of their dues beginning March 29 through May 25 and most, barring the pilots who demanded complete payment before April 1, had agreed.

The memorandum has been sent on the day when the civil aviation minister again said that the national carrier Air India was making operational losses of Rs 10 crore everyday.

"The total loss of Air India every day on its operations is approximately Rs 10 crore."

Kingfisher directors

Kingfisher Airlines named three new independent directors on its board to comply with rules, after the last of its independent directors quit last week amid growing concerns over its survival.

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