The new owners of Air India will have to retain all the employees of the national carrier for at least one year post which they can offer a VRS.
The gratuity, pension fund and post retirement medical benefits of existing and past employees too would be honoured by the new owner, civil aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal said.
Tata Sons has emerged as the winning bidder for Air India with the government accepting its Rs 18,000 crore offer to acquire 100 per cent of the debt-laden state-run carrier.
Briefing reporters, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said the outstanding dues of employees of Rs 1,332 crore as per the report of Justice Dharmadhikari would be paid by the government.
Air India has 12,085 employees - 8,084 permanent and 4,001 contractual.
Besides, Air India Express has 1,434. In the next five years, about 5,000 permanent employees will be retiring, he said.
Free travel by government employees on Air India flight will stop post handover, free passage to retired employees will be as per industry practice.
"The restrictions that government employees will have to travel only through this will go.
"The passage rights will be as per industry practice, there is nothing that we are mandating," Pandey said.
Air India employee unions are ‘happy’
Several employee unions of Air India on Friday expressed happiness over the carrier's former owner Tata Sons winning the bid to acquire the national carrier.
"We are most happy to hear that it will be the Tata group that is taking us over.
“We look forward to giving this company our best.
"And, in return, we are sure that the Tata group will ensure that a mutually beneficial working relationship will be kindled over the years," said a committee member of the Indian Pilots' Guild, the Boeing pilots' union of Air India.
Separately, the Guild in a tweet said, "@GuildPilots is proud that @airindiain is an airline founded by India's first licensed pilot and that the airline is going back to the Tata Group... We look forward to being a part of the #tatafamily."
The Indian National Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), the Airbus pilots' body of Air India, said it has great hopes from the new employer.
ICPA general secretary Praveen Keerthi said, "The Tata group is well known for taking care of its employees.
“Even during the pandemic, the employees of Vistara were better looked after than Air Indians.
“We have great hopes from the new employer and are excited and apprehensive at the same time."
Keerthi added that ICPA looks forward to meeting the new employer to take Air India to its former glory.
"In this, they have our complete support."
The All India Cabin Crew Association, which claims to represent a majority of the cabin crew members in Air India, said in a tweet, "...it is a #Gharwapasi for our great #Airline... historic #aviation moment."
Rohit Nandan, Air India's former chairman and managing director, expressed hope that the airline is expected to be more professionally managed now with Tata Sons becoming its new owner.
He added that the people in Air India are quite happy.
"At least, Air Indians will have better times ahead. He said that the jobs of the pilots and engineers are secured, It is the other categories who might have difficulty but I think the government must have made some provisions to see that their jobs are safe," Nandan said.
Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters