The meeting the various employee union representatives had with the Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri on Monday has resulted in the Minister asking the carrier to form a committee comprising nine members, three general managers from the management side and the remaining six drawn from the different employee unions.
It was indicated earlier that the unions were keen that they bring up the subject of VRS to be offered to the employees ahead of the stake sale to a private entity by the government.
The committee set up now has been given 10 days’ time to hold as many sittings as possible and come up with the solutions to the employees’ concerns over disinvestment. The HR or Human Resources perspective of the employees will be explored and the solutions found by this committee.
The situation in front of the government and the employees does not appear very complicated. The government says it does not want to spend any more on the loss-making airline and would want to get out of it as early as possible. The employees are possibly resigned to their fate and know the writing is on the wall. The only question before them is when will they be asked to leave their jobs and not if. The unions now want to extract the best terms for offering to quit the airline. Their choice is to leave when the airline is still owned by the government rather than a private entity. The general sense is they can get a better deal from the government and will be assured of an early settlement and payment. A private entity will be tougher to negotiate and getting the payments may be a prolonged affair.
The government may not want to add the VRS settlement expense to its account and would want the buyer of the airline to foot the bill.
The government has to first find a buyer and then only many of these issues could find some resolution.