Delhi airport employees to boycott work Tuesday

July 28th, 2008 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Over 2,000 employees at Delhi airport will boycott work and demonstrate at the office of the civil aviation minister Tuesday, saying terms of their employment were being changed by the government and DIAL, the private developer contracted two years ago to develop and manage the airport. Airports Authority of India Employees Union general secretary M.K. Ghoshal said the GMR Infrastructure-led Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) - a public-private joint venture to modernise Delhi airport - was pressurizing employees of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to resign and join its rolls.

The agitating employees will demonstrate at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, which houses the civil aviation ministry, and submit a memorandum to civil aviation minister Praful Patel.

Many Left leaders are expected to take part in the protest, Ghoshal said.

“We are against it (quitting AAI). Why will anyone leave their government jobs with AAI and join DIAL?,” he asked. “We will protest against the high-handedness of DIAL and the government.”

Ghoshal said DIAL did not assign any work to the employees who would boycott work Tuesday. “Our absence will not affect the functioning of Delhi airport in anyway,” he said.

DIAL, however, has denied it was putting any pressure on AAI employees.

“The contract with AAI requires DIAL to make an employment offer to 60 percent of its employees by May 2009, but we extended the offer to all employees in December 2006,” a company spokesperson said.

In order to modernize and restructure Delhi and Mumbai airports, AAI in 2006 signed an Operation, Management and Development Agreement with DIAL and the Mumbai International Airport Ltd for an initial term of 30 years, which would be extended by another 30 years.

“Under this agreement, we can hire AAI employees for three years till May 2009. They will return to AAI after that,” the DIAL spokesperson said.

But Ghoshal insisted employees were being pressurised to join DIAL and were being denied benefits.

Incidentally, about only nine percent of the over 2,300 AAI employees working at the Delhi airport have opted for a voluntary scheme to join DIAL.

According to DIAL, AAI employees who joined the new company were given a 75 percent salary increase on an average based on a scheme that was offered to all the employees in December 2006.

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