Air India employees to go on strike over non-payment of salaries

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New Delhi, July 2 (ANI): Employees of India's flagship carrier Air India have announced they will be on strike for two hours on Friday in protest against the non-payment of salaries.

Air India has said it will not be able to pay the salaries tomorrow as scheduled. In retaliation, the employees said they would go on a strike between two and four in the afternoon, and thereafter on an indefinite strike.ivil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has said the government cannot bail Air India out every time, and it is time for the flagship carrier to tighten its belt and resolve its financial woes.

Air India's borrowings have risen from Rs.6, 550 crore in November 2007 to Rs.15, 241 crore in June this year.

He said that the airline has been asked to prepare a restructuring plan in the next 30 days.

In reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Patel said the borrowings have gone up largely due to servicing of debt on account of purchase of new aircraft and its operating losses, which have compounded due to the present economic recession and the high oil prices last year.

He said the National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) has been advised to formulate "a concrete proposal for equity induction and provision of loans".

Patel also made it clear that there was no plan to retrench any employee of Air India.

He later told reporters outside Parliament that government's support to Air India "cannot be taken for granted".

The carrier plans to start a low-fare airline for the domestic sector as new budget airlines gain market share.

The carrier may set up under the Air India Express brand, which now is a low-fare unit for international routes, chief commercial officer Tara Naidu said. (ANI)

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