Apex court hears airport workers’ plea against mass transfer

April 30th, 2009 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday heard a plea by over 1,600 Mumbai airport workers against their mass transfer to smaller airports following privatisation.
“It looks like retrenchment,” a bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice G.S. Singhvi remarked.

Though the bench heard their woes, arising out of the Airports Authority of India’s April 27 order for their mass transfer out of Mumbai, it could not conclude the hearing due to paucity of time. It decided to hear the matter Friday.

Appearing for the workers, senior counsel Colin Gonsalves and Indira Jaisingh pointed out to the court that around 3,000 out of over 4,000 Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees at Delhi and Mumbai airports face transfer to smaller airports, where they could be rendered jobless.

They face transfer for their refusal to join the GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and the GVK-led Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), which have taken over the operations of the two airports in 2006, said Gonsalves.

He added that the airport workers have refused to join private firms as they guaranteed no job security.

Alleging that the management was forcing the employees to either accept a voluntary retirement scheme or face transfer, Gonsalves said the posting at new places is a ploy to make them sit idle.

He said it was a government ploy to retrench them, to which Solicitor General Goolam E. Vahanvati sought to assure the court that it was not a retrenchment and merely transfer.

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