The largest Left-affiliated trade union, the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), is yet to be convinced about the efficacy of the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India into one entity. On Tuesday, it asked the Union Civil Aviation Ministry for more time to look into the possible fallouts of the merger on the 30,000-odd workers in the two airlines.
Union Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, paid an uncharacteristic visit to the AITUC headquarters on Canning Lane this afternoon to discuss the merger with the trade union's general secretary, Gurudas Das Gupta.
The meeting failed to reach a conclusion. Patel conveyed to Das Gupta that the CPIM-affiliated trade union Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the second largest Left union, had agreed to the merger. MK Pandhe, CITU president, agreed to the merger after being assured by Patel that the interests of the workers would be protected.
Patel mentioned to Das Gupta that the merger would give a much-needed access to new markets to both airlines. "Patel said that the merger would give Air India access to the domestic market and Indian Airlines to the foreign market," Das Gupta said, quoting Patel.
Das Gupta said that Patel also assured him that employees currently working in the two airlines would not be discriminated against. "There would be no retrenchment and parity of wages would be maintained. Parity in service years would also be protected," Patel told the AITUC leader, who is also a CPI Lok Sabha MP.
According to the Union Civil Aviation minister, the new entity that is created after the merger would earn a profit more than Rs 600 crores after a three-year-period.
At the end of the 20-minute meeting, however, Das Gupta told Patel that AITUC needs more time to look into the issues involved in the merger. "No time frame was fixed. But we need more time. Patel was told that," Das Gupta said.