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Divestment: Air India official seeks employees’ contribution, unions ask them to stay away

However, some employee unions of the loss-making national carrier have already thwarted the plan by asking their members not to participate or acknowledge the process.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: December 6, 2020 1:21:38 am
The deadline for placing of bids for the debt-laden airline is December 14, and qualified bidders will receive intimation on their offers by December 28. (Express file)

A director at disinvestment-bound Air India has approached nearly 20,000 of the airline’s employees seeking contribution of Rs 1 lakh each to participate in the bidding process.

However, some employee unions of the loss-making national carrier have already thwarted the plan by asking their members not to participate or acknowledge the process.

Meenakshi Mallik, Air India’s commercial director, last week wrote a letter to the employees with a plan to acquire 51 per cent stake in the airline. For the remaining 49 per cent stake, Mallik wrote, that the team would look for a financial partner. Multiple attempts to reach Mallik were unsuccessful.

“The PIM (preliminary information memorandum) … made it possible for the employees of Air India to charge and ownership of the airline, and to this end, provides various terms and conditions, which need to be fulfilled, and which we intend to collectively achieve and satisfy … Due to the support we will receive from our financial partner, while I anticipate that each of us will have to make a contribution of no more than INR 1,00,000 to bid for the company …,” Mallik wrote in the letter.

“Until we cross Stage 1 (EoI Stage), no monies are needed to be collected from the employees. Moreover, after successfully completing stage one, we are planning our bid in such a way that no single employee will have to take on a financial risk or contribute more than INR 1,00,000,” she added.

According to sources, more than 200 employees are already on board with the plan, and are in process of identifying a financial partner.

Employee unions, however, asked their members to not take part in the process of strategic disinvestment.

“In this regard all pilots are advised not to acknowledge or participate in the process initiated by the management official till the disproportionate 70 per cent pay cut for pilots vis-a-vis Air India’s top management officials (10 per cent) is addressed,” a joint-letter by Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association and Indian Pilots’ Guild, said.

The deadline for placing of bids for the debt-laden airline is December 14, and qualified bidders will receive intimation on their offers by December 28.

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