New Delhi: The Airports Authority Employees Union boycotted work on Tuesday and held demonstrations to protest against the pressure being brought on them allegedly by the government and the airport operator, Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), to change their terms of employment.
Union members have threatened to go on indefinite strike from 20 August if their grievances were not redressed. This was stated in the memorandum of demands submitted to civil aviation secretary, Ashok Chawla and Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman K Ramalingam.
The demonstrating employees were also joined by CPM politburo member, Sitaram Yechury.
As part of an agreement to modernise and restructure the Delhi and Mumbai airports, the AAI signed an Operation, Management and Development Agreement with DIAL and Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) in 2006 for an initial term of 30 years. The agreement may also be extended by another 30 years.
The union members claim that the government and DIAL were now pressurising the AAI employees to resign and join the company's rolls, an allegation denied by the airport operator.
"The contract with AAI requires DIAL to make an employment offer to 60 per cent of its employees by May 2009, but we extended the offer to all employees in December 2006," a DIAL spokesperson has clarified. According to the company, only nine per cent of the over 2,300 AAI employees working at the Delhi airport have opted for a voluntary scheme to join it.
According to DIAL, AAI employees who joined the new company have received a 75 per cent salary increase on average.