Days after the Prime Minister’s Office announced the privatisation of airports in Kolkata and Chennai,the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to mandate private operators to hire their existing staff (around 1,600) at these airports on the existing terms and conditions.
The PMO,in July,decided to award these two airports projects on public-private partnership and set a deadline of completing the award of the projects by March next year.
“We have decided to mandate it in the bidding norms that the new private airport operator will have to hire our employees on their existing terms and conditions. We also plan to offer a choice of Kolkata and Chennai to all our employees across the country,as a lot of our employees from these cities work at other locations and would like to go back,” said a senior AAI official.
He added that they have not put any number to employees,who will be given an option to join these airports.
The state-owned airport operator wanted to shift 60 per cent of their 4,000-odd staff at Delhi and Mumbai airports to the private operator but only 6 per cent of them actually joined these two airports.
The agreements for Delhi and Mumbai airports did not mandate the private airport operators to hire their staff but to make them an offer to 60 per cent of AAI employees – a large number of them did not accept the offer to join them.
The AAI official quoted above explains that a large number of the employees were sweepers,who were converted to regular employees after a court order. “We are paying them from the money that comes from these private airport operators as compensation,” said the official.
He added that managing the employees with no work is a difficult task. “We will not let this happen in Kolkata and Chennai,as we do not want any more employees with no work,” he said.