CITU demands Patel's resignation for airlines cartel

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New Delhi, Oct 16 (UNI) The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) today alleged that Air India's decision to lay off 15,000 staffers in the next five years was ''aimed at creating a panic scenario'' to force the government to provide a bailout plan for the private airlines business, specially the newly-formed cartel.

Demanding the resignation of Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel for his ''unabashed open support'' to the cartel formation by private airlines, CITU President M K Pandhe warned the Air India authorities not to resort to any lay off at the behest of the private airliners and the minister.

It said the proposal to retrench the 15,000 employees was mooted by the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Air India soon after the formation of a cartel between Jet Airlines and Kingfisher airlines, having 60 per cent of the market share ''because of the consistent backing and concession at the behest of the minister.'' The Left trade union sought the immediate withdrawal of all retrenchment orders in Jet Airways and an inquiry by the Competition Commission into the cartel formation.

It also called for ''a government investigation into the subject of funding sources of Jet Airways which appears to have a major role in the so-called crisis faced by the airlines.'' UNI SD RSA BD1805

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