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Rediff.com  » Business » Govt invokes ESMA to stop airport strike

Govt invokes ESMA to stop airport strike

Last updated on: January 31, 2006 12:08 IST

The government on Tuesday invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act to stop the airport employees from going on a strike.

Airport employees have threatened to go on a nationwide strike the moment the empowered Group of Ministers opens the financial bids for the privatisation process of the modernisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports on Tuesday.

The invocation of the ESMA has now pegged the airport employees on a collision course with the government if the airport employees go ahead with their proposed strike.

If the strike does go through and you are travelling by air anywhere in India on Tuesday, better be prepared for dirty toilets, no trolleys where you want them to be, and possibly more discomfort in the form of slogan-shouting airport employees.

Even as the empowered Group of Ministers prepares to open the financial bids of shortlisted private consortia for the privatisation of the two airports on Tuesday at 12.30 p.m., airport employees have threatened to go on a nationwide strike.

The employees' proposal to handover the modernisation of the airports to AAI was rejected by the civil aviation ministry raising the hackles of the employees.

All the 124 airports in India will participate in the strike.

The warning by the AAI Employees Joint Forum came after their 90-minute meeting with Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel in New Delhi on Monday, following which forum convenor M K Ghoshal said, "We have so far not taken any steps to inconvenience the air traveller. But if the government went ahead with privatisation we could even consider closure of all airports. It could be a massive industrial action, the responsibility of which will squarely lie on the government."

"If financial bids are forcibly opened, then it will lead to confrontation between the government and the employees," the forum leaders said.

At the talks, both Patel and the forum leaders stuck to their stands, with Ghoshal saying, "We agreed to disagree."