(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 08, 2011
Management Responsible for Grievances, Revenue Losses
IN a letter addressed to Vayalar Ravi,
minister for civil aviation, on April 29, CITU vice president M K
Pandhe has pointed
out the various steps taken by the Air India management to favour the
sector, reducing in this process the market share of Air
In this background, Pandhe has demanded
that the minister must call a meeting of all the trade unions operating
Pandhe’s letter to the minister of civil aviation followed his attempts on several occasions to get an appointment with the minister. The CITU leader was not given an appointment by that time.
Iterating the point that the avoidable strike of Air
Of late, the public concern about the working of the
Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air
The scam in issuing licenses to fake pilots by the
Ministry of Civil Aviation has shocked the entire country. While the
taken action against some pilots and officials, the Ministry of Civil
has not taken any strong action, nor even ordered a high level enquiry
matter. In this connection, the CITU leader’s missive pointed out that
of an official of the ministry got a pilots license while she had
studied in a
school having no aeroplane or hangar in
The letter also pointed out how the electronic media
have highlighted the issue of lucrative routes of Air
Another aspect which Pandhe drew attention to is that the lucrative ground handling job has been handed over to the private sector, again causing severe revenue losses to the public sector.
And to top it all, after outsourcing the profit making
routes to the private sector, Air
Over three years have passed since the merger of Air
It is surprising that, even after more than three years of merger of the two companies, the Air India management has not taken any steps to introduce uniform working conditions for all the of Air India employees.
Further, due to the Air India’s withdrawal from the lucrative routes, its management has drastically reduced the flying hours of the pilots who are now underutilised.
Another extremely sad thing in this regard is that the
Air India management have not implemented even the recommendations of
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport and of the Committee on
Undertakings. This utter disregard for parliamentary committees is a
serious concern for the trade union movement in
The CITU leader also pointed out that it is just due to the obduracy of the Air India management that the talks with the striking pilots before the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) have not come to any fruitful conclusion. This has resulted in the failure of conciliation. The Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) has clearly put the entire blame on the Air India management for the failure of the talks.
Yet another aspect the CITU leader’s missive has
pointed out is that there has been no wage revision in Air
It is a matter of serious concern that 40 employees who are members of Air Corporations Employees Union and 2 employees of All India Engineers Association are still facing termination of services for nearly one year. Though the unions have expressed deep regret for the unfortunate agitation and the Ministry of Civil Aviation has agreed to take the employees back on duties, the assurance is yet to be implemented. The Air India management is imposing humiliating conditions on these employees for taking them back on duty.
It is a matter worth referring to the CBI for
as to how the Indian Airlines and Air
But Pandhe’s letter regretted that instead of taking stringent action against the culprits, the employees are being penalised without any justification. In these circumstances, the termination of employees’ services, derecognition of unions or sealing of the union offices can in no way help in solving the problem, the letter stressed.
The CITU leader has therefore urged the minister to take a dispassionate view of the whole question and convene a meeting of all the important trade unions with a view to finding a way out of the present impasse and restoring the old glory of the Air India and Indian Airlines. The letter has expressed the hope that being one of the senior most trade union leaders in the country, the minister would realise that the involvement of workers and employees is most crucial in reviving the Air India’s financial position and market share. Asking the minister to appreciate the gravity of the situation, the letter urged him to take urgent steps to restore normalcy in the undertaking and take steps to revitalise the premier national carrier in the interest of the country.
Repeating his plea for an appointment in order to
discuss the matter with the minister in detail, Pandhe said that an
of all the employees of Air
In the meantime, through a statement issued on May 1, the All India State Government Employees’ Federation (AISGEF) has demanded that the Air India management and the Ministry of Civil Aviation must take steps to settle the Air India pilots’ strike immediately.
the Air India pilots are on a strike for several days, which has
national carrier, the Civil Aviation Ministry of the government of
Issued by Sukomal Sen, its vice president, the AISGEF statement said in this regard that formation of unions and trade union protests constitute a basic and fundamental right of the workers under the Indian constitution.
As it is, the pilots are not a part of the Air India management but are, under the labour laws, treated as workmen, irrespective of the amount of salary and other perks they enjoy.
is understood that the Air India managing director’s harsh and
attitude towards the pilots and other categories of staff is one of the
of the strike. Moreover, the latest news is that the Air India
negotiating with the Kingfisher airlines, owned by a top
the country, and the news goes that the government is preparing to take
lease the Kingfisher’s aircraft which will fly in the name of Air
Moreover, taking advantage of the Air India strike, other private airlines have raised their fares abnormally and are thus making windfall profits.
In view of the current situation, the All India State Government Employees’ Federation has urged upon the government to immediately talk to the pilots’ association, vacate all victimisations and reach a negotiated settlement in order to save the national carrier from further losses.