Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Sep 22, 2005
Trade & Labour Unions
Airport staff firm on Sept 29 stir plan
The Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, with the Airports Authority of India employees in the Capital on Wednesday. Ramesh Sharma
New Delhi , Sept. 21
THE possibility of some disruption in air services around the country on September 29 looms large with the Airports Authority of India Joint Employees Forum going ahead with its plans of striking work despite a meeting here today with the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel.
Emerging from the meeting Mr Patel said the Government was willing to consider the alternative proposal put forward by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for development of the two airports.
"We have also appealed to forum not to go on strike but observe a protest day instead. We are willing to consider the alternative proposal of AAI that has been submitted," Mr Patel added.
However, the forum's General Secretary, Mr M.K. Ghoshal, said that the one-day strike was very much on the cards.
"The alternative time bound plan has been with the Government for the past one-year and there has been no purposeful meeting since then," he said.
The plan that has been submitted to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, points out that the modernisation and renovation of the two metro airports was held up for several years by successive governments. "We promise to implement these projects within the given time schedule of 48 months from the date the Government approves the project without any time or cost overrun," the plan adds.
The forum had already announced that it would participate in the countrywide strike called for September 29 by the sponsoring committee of the Central Trade Unions to protest against the Government decision to privatise profit making public sector undertakings.
The Government has already received bids from six leading industrial groups including Reliance, GMR, GVK and Essel for taking part in the modernisation and restructuring of the two metro airports.
While about 20,000 employees of AAI from diverse fields including engineering and ground handling are likely to abstain from work on September 29, the Air Traffic Controllers who guide the aircraft through the air and help them land safely are not taking part in the strike. However, despite the ATC not taking part, forum officials said that work in all airports around the country would come to a halt on September 29.
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