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Left unions hit out at minister

delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2007 03:10 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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Left-affiliated trade unions on Wednesday extended their support to the 12,000 employees of Indian who went on a flash strike late on Tuesday night. The employees are on the strike under the apolitical Airport Corporation Employees Union (ACEU).

Senior trade union leaders said that threatening posture adopted by the Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel would be strongly opposed. “Any threat of suspension would be met with opposition,” Gurudas Das Gupta of All India Trade Union Congress said.

MK Pandhe, president of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and CPI(M) politburo member, alleged that Patel has threatened to close down the airline if the strike continued. “On Tuesday night, I spoke to him on telephone. He (Patel) threatened to lockout Indian,’’ Pandhe told HT.

Pandhe said the strike was triggered because of the adamant attitude taken by the Ministry against ensuring career progression and pay parity of the striking staff with Air India employees.

“The agreement had been completed between the employees and the airlines authorities but the Ministry did not clear it. And when the Minister finally cleared it on June 11, they added humiliating conditions. As a result, the agreement collapsed,’’ Pandhe said.

Two meetings were held on Tuesday but both ended without any decision. “One condition given was that the arrears would be given in 36 installments. Secondly, while Air India employee have got arrears for 10 years, Indian Airlines staff would get it for 7 years,” Pandhe added.