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Time for 'Operation Clean-up'

Civil Aviation Minister says he will look into AAI staff's crises. Why revamp? | Pics

india Updated: Feb 05, 2006 00:47 IST

The four-day-old strike by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) employees was on Saturday called off following an assurance from the Government.

All airports are expected to return to normalcy by evening.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel handed over a letter to the senior members of the left-controlled Airports Authority of India (AAI) union in which he promised that the privatisation process will not lead to any victimisation of the staff, neither will anybody lose their jobs.

He also assured in writing that a committee would be appointed that would look into the future prospects of the staff.

"He has done what we had been asking for," MK Ghoshal, general secretary of the AAI workers' union, said, adding "he (Patel) has given us the assurance in writing."

Police, demonstratorsclash

About 22,000 striking workers of the AAI had earlier threatened to continue their four-old day after security personnel used force to thwart the protests by the employees near the domestic departure terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport at noon.

"The staff of the AAI had gathered at the airport for a meeting when they were attacked by the police," Ranvir Singh, regional secretary, (North) workers' union AAI, said adding, "the demonstration would continue."

The staff members were to consider the assurances given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his request to end the agitation.

Left leaders MK Pandhe and Gurudas Dasgupta who were also there at the venue, expressed their support and asked the AAI staff to continue with their protest. But the brewing discontent following the police action was pacified after the AAI staff members met Patel.

PM's meeting with strikers

On Friday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself intervened and assured the striking employees of job security. He called upon the strikers to return to work in public interest.

The day witnessed hectic parleys between the two sides. First, Manmohan met the Left leaders. An announcement was then made of another meeting, this time with AAI union representatives.

This second meeting lasted for over two hours and it was initially rumoured that the PM would be able to persuade the unions to call off the strike. The AAI management was hopeful that the strike would be called off by Friday night.

An hour later, however, the unions announced that they were not withdrawing the strike.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 01:35 IST