New Delhi: Ahead of a meeting of a Group of Ministers (GoM) on Air India, the civil aviation ministry is holding talks with all the unions to find ways to resolve their problems as part of efforts to salvage the troubled airline.
Civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi , secretary Nasim Zaidi and other officials have held in-depth parleys with unions representing different sections of the Air India workforce for the past two days, official and union sources said.
The unions which participated in the meetings include those representing the pilots, cabin crew, engineers and the ground handling staff.
The unions are understood to have raised issues concerning delay in payment of salaries, “lack” of a cohesive HR policy, “lack of transparency” in the working of the airline and the post-merger integration process.
When union leaders raised apprehensions about the future of the airline, the ministry made it clear that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government were “very serious” on the issue.
The government was “very keen and concerned” about its financial health and assured that some steps would be taken expeditiously, including the appointment of new functional directors and restructuring of the Air India Board, they said.
Exuding confidence about Air India’s revival, Ravi is understood to have assured the unions that more funds would be made available by the government.
In the past three years, Air India has witnessed three major strikes by pilots, engineers and other employees, disrupting its services. The protests focused on unresolved merger-related issues, especially those concerning parity in wages and seniority.
The second meeting of the GoM headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, slated early next week, is likely to give a go-ahead to the proposal to infuse additional equity of Rs 1,200 crore into the ailing carrier.
The matter would then be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for approval.