No plans to retrench AI employees: Praful Patel

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New Delhi, July 2 (ANI): Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Thursday clarified that there will be no retrenchment in Air India, and added that Air India has been asked to provide a restructuring plan in next 30 days.

A threat had been looming over employees of the national carrier, which has a total staff strength of around 23,000. It is facing a major financial crisis, following the global economic slow down, high fuel prices and operating costs.

"The airline has been facing a financial crunch for the past few years. Its borrowings have risen steeply from Rs.6550 crore in November, 2007 to Rs.15241 crores in June, 2009. This has been largely due to servicing of debt on account of purchase of new aircraft as also operating losses which have compounded due to economic recession and high oil prices," Praful Patel informed Lok Sabha.

There were fears that Air India would retrench some employees to cut operational costs, but the minister made it clear that there was no plans to retrench any employee, rather they would be looking forward to the restructuring plan that the airline would be submitting in a month's time.

Meanwhile, the earlier decision of paying the salaries by July 15 has been reconsidered by Air India, as it announced that they were working on the formalities to disburse salaries to lower grade employees by Friday.

"Air India is working towards paying wages and salaries to its employees in the lower grades on July 3, as part of the decision finalised at a meeting with the unions last week," an airline spokesperson said. (ANI)

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