AI management, unions form panel to cut costs

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 26, 2009 03:42 hrs

Air India's management and employee unions have jointly formed a 'turnaround committee' which will identify areas to ensure savings and generate revenue.

This is consequent to the Government's clear message to the airline to either shape up or ship out.

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The decision to form the committee was taken after a day-long meeting between Arvind Jadhav, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India, and the representatives of all unions here on Thursday.

"The representatives have been asked to make presentations on July 3, identifying areas where savings can be effected," said the airline's spokesperson.

The unions have already formed nine committees to look into areas of integration, route rationalisation/schedules, customer feedback, manpower rationalisation, green initiatives, safety, engineering, procurement & contracts and alliances.

"Representatives of these committees will submit their findings to the turnaround committee for further action," said George Abraham, General Secretary, Aviation Industry Employees Guild.

Some of the proposals put forth to the management include (voluntary) work and pay for 15 days and a voluntary retirement scheme for two to three years.

"These steps, if implemented, will not be forcefully imposed on the employees," said Abraham.

Other areas being looked into are commercial use of Air India's MRO (maintenance and repair overhaul) and ground handling units undertaking third party work as well as its staff college for training in aviation.

The carrier's specialisation in aviation IT and medicine could also be explored as an option to generate additional revenue.

Salary deferment

On the issue of salary deferment, the unions said the management had assured them that all steps were being taken to ensure timely payments.

However, the spokesperson for the airline maintained, "As of now, the deferment stays". The management has, incidentally, assured the union that there will be no privatisation of Air India.

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