HR issues pose an impediment to privatization of airports in India

May 20, 20158:00 am1179 views
HR issues pose an impediment to privatization of airports in India
Employees on strike to stop privatization of airports in India

Indian Government has chosen to extend the bidding deadline for privatization of four AAI-run airports airports in the country due to HR issues. The Airports Authority of India had invited Request for Qualification (RFQ) for privatisation of government-run airports for which the earlier deadline of March 24. This has been extended until May 26.

Considering this move to handover operations, management and development of Kolkata, Chennai, Jaipur and Ahmedabad Airports to private entities, the employee union at AAI has been opposing this move, on grounds that this could lead to further dip in revenues of AAI besides massive retrenchment of manpower as well.

The employee union had earlier called a strike on March 11 to protest the move. However, due to intervention by the chief labour commissioner (CLC), this was deferred until further notice and March 30 was decided as the next date for a meet between the union and the management.

Balraj Singh Ahlawat, general secretary of AAIEU (Airports Authority of India Employee Union) told DNA that, they ordered CLC to not mediate between AAI and the government. Singh added, “We would like to directly fight with the government, and whomsoever is stronger will win.”

To resolve this manpower issue, the government is now contemplating a 100 percent manpower absorption clause for bidders to pacify the union. According to earlier OMDA (operations, management and development agreement) with the GMR and GVK Group who now operate Mumbai and Delhi airports, the clause called for 60 percent absorption of AAI manpower by private operators.

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“There are issues relating to human resources. A concerted decision has to be taken (on such issues). Whatever are the concerns of the employees, they have to be addressed,” R K Srivastava, Chairman, Airports Authority of India told Business Standard. He further added that the service conditions of the employees cannot be “compromised with”, however the authoritative body is trying to fast-track the privatization process.

The chairman of AAI further hinted on the tariff fixation for these airports, but chose to not elaborate further.

Companies that have shown interest in the RFQ include Tata and Adani group along with existing operators, the GVK and GMR group; Siemens Postal Parcel & Airport Logistics, and International Business Development Flughafen Zurich AG Postfrach, Egis India Consulting Engineers, Flemingo Duty Free Shop and Bhadra International (India).

As per AAI Recruitment & Promotion Guidelines, Executive level recruitment is done at All India level by Corporate Headquarters (CHQ) while Non-Executive level recruitments are done at regional level by five Regional Headquarters (RHQ) at New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati. Centre of Policy Research of the Ministry of Human Resource Department is the Recruitment agency for executive cadre.

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