Air India unions hopeful of aiding turnaround

Shubhra Tandon Mumbai | Updated on February 16, 2011 Published on February 16, 2011

Mr Vayalar Ravi, the Minister for Civil Aviation.

Hold talks with Minister; ready to support revival plan

Employee unions of Air India are optimistic about their role in the turnaround of the national carrier after their long discussions with the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Vayalar Ravi, on Wednesday.

Of the 14 employee unions, the newly appointed Minister individually met seven unions on the first day of his two-day visit to Mumbai to take into account the progress made on the turnaround of the carrier.

According to airline sources, there seems a consensus among the employees that the airline needs finances and the Government needs to support it. The employees on their part will be ready to lend their support to the turnaround plan of the carrier.

“The Minister was told that the employees are not obstacle in the turnaround of the carrier, but issues related to systems integration, large capital infusion through debt should be looked at. Mr Ravi said that he will bring in his own mechanism to look into the issues of HR,” said an airline source.

“The airline needs finances and if the Government gets the finance, the employees will give their support. The committees set up by the CMD (Mr Arvind Jadhav) last year should be revived as they had equal participation from the unions and management. Revival of at least four of those 10 committees is important like engineering, manpower, route rationalisation and turnaround. The Minister took note of the suggestion,” said another airline source.

Speaking to newspersons later, Mr Ravi acknowledged that there was a lack of “confidence” among employees.

“Management is also trying its best but there is compartmental management. HR is doing something and MD is talking all the time. We will look into the whole issue. I don't want a piecemeal solution. I want to find out a solution which is long standing and acceptable,” said Mr Ravi.

Turnaround Progress

On the progress of turnaround plan, he said, “65 per cent of the turnaround is complete but major issue of integration of human resources has still not happened”.

Whether the Ministry will look into allegations that the profitable routes of Air India have been given to private airlines, Mr Ravi said, “Some of them have raised this issue of losing some of the routes that affected them financially. I said definitely I have the list…I am looking into it but cannot comment on it now”.

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Published on February 16, 2011
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