Mumbai: Air India unions are likely to meet next week in the national capital to discuss their strategy amid the government going ahead with the disinvestment process.
People familiar with the matter say efforts are on to bring all staff unions of Air India including those of the pilots and engineers on one platform and workout a strategy to deal with the situation arising out of the government’s decision to offload its stake in the flag carrier.
“In the last few months, several Air India unions have held discussions at an individual level with the management on the issue of disinvestment. But now there is need for all unions to come together and talk to the government in one voice on airline’s privatisation," said a leader of one of the largest unions at Air India.
Air India, which has over 20,000 employees on its roll, has as many as six recognised unions, representing ground and commercial staff, pilots, cabin crew and engineers, among others, besides, several unrecognised unions.
To revive the loss-making state-run carrier, which also has a debt burden of over Rs50,000 crore, the government has decided to go for its strategic disinvestment and the modalities are being worked out by a Group of Ministers headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley.
“We are going to talk to all the unions and bring them on one platform to prepare a common strategy while we sit with the management on the issue of disinvestment next time. We are planning to call a meeting of all these unions next week," the source said.
Significantly, seven Air India unions have already expressed their opposition to the airline’s privatisation.
On 28 June, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had given in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries. The government has already invited applications for engaging up to two advisers, a legal adviser and asset valuer for the strategic disinvestment of Air India and its subsidiaries/ joint venture.