Section of Air India employees want to be part of airline management: Source

Mumbai, December 17, 2017: A section of Air India employees has proposed that their representatives should be made part of the airline’s management amid the government moving ahead with the strategic disinvestment of the carrier, a source said.

The proposal was made by one of the employees’ unions by way of written submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture during a meeting on December 11.

Besides, one of the unions has proposed that the government should consider employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) at the disinvestment-bound carrier according to

“The union proposed giving employees the option to run the company by including employee representatives in its management and to consider ESOP (Employee Stock Option Plan) as well,” the source said.

The committee, headed by Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, had convened the meeting to hear the representatives of Air India employees’ unions as well as officials of various Air India subsidiaries on the proposed divestment.

As many as 14 Air India unions had attended this meeting besides officials of various subsidiaries, including Air India Express.

The union, the source said, strongly opposed disinvestment or privatisation of Air India and its subsidiaries.

Significantly, all Air India unions are opposing the government’s disinvestment move.

According to the source, unions also suggested that they should be made part of the ongoing disinvestment process, which would make it more transparent.

In June, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle nod for the strategic disinvestment of Air India.

According to the reports published in the government is working on the modalities for the stake sale. The carrier, which has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore, managed to eke out operational profit for the first time in a decade in 2015-16.

Sharp differences of opinion among ruling and opposition members over the move had emerged during the meeting, in which BJP Lok Sabha MP Shatrughan Sinha is believed to have opposed the decision to privatise the national carrier .

Besides, stating that stakeholders were not consulted before deciding on Air India stake sale, the unions had flagged concerns about job security, retirement benefits and pending dues in case of privatisation, sources had said.

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