The CPI on Saturday came out in support of the striking Air India pilots and sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to end the crisis, saying the civil aviation ministry has "completely failed" to protect the interests of the national carrier.
"The civil aviation ministry has completely failed to resolve the issue and protect the interests of the national carrier," CPI National Secretary D Raja said in New Delhi.
He said the Prime Minister should immediately intervene and "direct the civil aviation ministry to hold negotiations with the pilots and other sections of the employees for a negotiated settlement".
Maintaining that Air India could have turned around and become profitable with all its infrastructure and manpower had the Ministry taken the right measures, Raja said the government has "not taken adequate steps to strengthen the national carrier".
"It is not the question of pilots alone, but the concern of the employees of all categories who are affected".
The CPI leader asked whether the current civil aviation policy "favoured the private parties to subvert and destroy Air India and the Airports Authority of India" and said "the time has come to review the entire policy forthwith".
Raja said the national carrier had withdrawn flights from several prime routes, including Chennai-Colombo and Gulf, allowing private carriers to operate on them. "Even prime time slots were given away to private airlines," he alleged.
"So, Air India has been neglected because of government policies and that is why the employees are demanding the removal of the CMD (Arvind Jadhav)", he alleged, terming it as "a very serious issue".
The CPI(M) has also accused Air India management of showing an "attitude of repression" towards its striking pilots by derecognising their union and sacking their leaders and demanded that it should sit with the protesters to resolve the issue.
"Irrespective of the merits of the demands raised by striking pilots, we strongly object to the way the Air India management has derecognised the pilots' unions. Everybody has the right to organise unions. It is a fundamental right," party general secretary Prakash Karat said on Friday.