The government should write off Rs 12,774-crore (Rs 127.74-billion) losses of the National Aviation Company of India, the holding company of Air India and Indian, and then begin afresh in a new direction, senior Communist Party of India-Marxist member Sitaram Yechuri said on Friday.
"The government should write off the losses of NACIL and then think of giving it a fresh direction. Its huge losses are because of the irrational decisions of the government," Yechury told reporters on the sidelines of the Save Air India convention organised by NACIL employees in Mumbai on Friday.
Employees should not be punished with wage cuts, Yechuri said, who is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.
Air India's unions have organised the convention (Save Air India) and have called for the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee of Public Undertakings.
"We will discuss this matter again with the committee. We want to know why a new (expat) COO has been appointed at a huge salary, while the Air India management is talking about wage-cuts for its employees," Yechury said.
The employees are willing to contribute their might to increase the national carrier's efficiency but they should not be made to suffer, he said.
At the convention, union members said if the observations and recommendations of two reports (Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and Committee on Public Undertakings 2009-10) were implemented, it would go a long way in turning around Air India and transforming it into a profitable organisation.
Yechuri also said the process of merging Air India and Indian Airlines (Indian) has not taken place in a proper way.
"There is no synchronisation between both entities. We need uniformity before merger," Yechury said.
According to him, till the merger between the two entities was fully completed, both should operate with separate balance sheets.
The convention also demanded that the government immediately commence implementing the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committees, especially those relating to bilaterals, ground-handling activities and job functions by NACIL at all airports and flight operations.
It also recommended compensation for flying on loss-making routes in excess of the guidelines, narrowing down of differentials in wages, including PLI and payment of arrears of all employees from 1997.
Image: Sitaram Yechuri