Airport employees threaten strike over privatisation

February 25th, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, Feb 25 (IANS) Services at all 135 airports in India may be affected from Tuesday as over 18,000 airport employees across the country threatened to strike work indefinitely protesting privatisation of airports. “Our agitation is in protest over the ongoing privatisation of airports that is underway by the Airports Authority of India,” national assistant general secretary of Airport Authority Employees Union (AAEU) Dilip Gujjar told IANS here Monday.

“Monday afternoon around 2 p.m. we are having a meeting with government officials in Delhi, where demands and needs would be discussed,” he said.

A senior Mumbai airport official said: “If the strike is on, it may cause disruptions as all the employees from operational, non-operational and safety services will join the agitation.”

AAEU is also protesting the development of greenfield airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore, which will close down the old airports currently run by AAI.

“At Delhi and Mumbai, where government has privatised the airports, the employees are being compelled to join the consortium of private companies that are managing them now. This is not acceptable to us,” Gujjar said.

He said there were several other major demands of AAI employees, which have not been met despite several requests to the government in the past year and a half.

However, flight operations in two major airports of Mumbai and Delhi may not completely stop.

“After privatisation, there are about only 2,000 employees who belong to AAEU. Most of them are not directly involved in flight operations,” said an airport official.

Mumbai airport also has a contingency plan.

“For emergency services we will call armed personnel and for housekeeping we have outsourced the work to private agencies,” a Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd spokesperson told IANS.

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