The Joint form of Unions and Associations of AAI (Airports Authority of India) together with Airports Authority Employees Union (AAEU) had given a call for an all India industrial action in all the airports on 31st March, 2021. The industrial action would take the form of a dharna and was to express the opposition of the workers to the decision of the government to hand over six more airports run by the Airports Authority of India to capitalist monopolies.
In response to the call of the unions, dharnas were held in all 123 Airports all over India.
At Chennai Airport, a large number of Airports Authority of India employees gathered in front of administration office and held a dharna. Com. Dr. L. George, Convener of AAI Joint forum and Metro Regional Secretary of AAEU welcomed all the employees and stated the objective of the dharna. Com. Guhan, President of AAEU Southern region, Com. Baskaran, Convener AAI Join Forum – Southern Region and Regional Secretary of Southern Region of AAEU, Com. Subarayan, Assistant General Secretary of AAEU and Com. Baskar of Workers Unity Movement addressed the employees.
All of them pointed out that the Central government is going ahead with the privatization of airports despite the fierce opposition of the Airports Authority employees and travelling public. The Central government has recently announced handing over 6 more airports to capitalists and has plans to hand over many more shortly. Employees of Airports Authority of India have been fighting against the privatization of airports from the beginning. Speakers pointed out that these huge revenue earning airports were built with the sweat and blood of the workers of Airports Authority of India. They belong to the people of India and the government has no right to hand them over to capitalists. Privatization of airports would terribly jeopardize the job security as well as the rights of the employees working in Airports Authority of India. Speakers cited the terrible experience of the workers in the already privatized airports such as Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru in spite of all the empty promises made by governments. The authorities are also breaking up the airport services and privatizing and outsourcing these services to various companies.
Speakers pointed out that as a consequence of privatization of airports, there has been a steep hike in airport user fees and development charges. These get added to each of the airlines’ tickets and ensure fleecing the travelling public and hefty profits for the capitalists running the airports. The wealth that belongs to the Indian people is being looted and handed over to the capitalists in broad daylight by the present day rulers, they said.
The union leaders pointed out that workers in Chennai Airport had held massive agitations and dharnas in the past against any move of the government to privatize Chennai airport. That is the reason why we have so far been able to hold this airport away from the clutches of the greedy capitalists, the union leaders pointed out. Workers raised militant slogans such as “We will not allow privatization of airports and public sector companies!”, “Oppose the anti-worker polices and acts of the government!”, “Workers’ Unity Zindabad!”, etc.
The representative of the Workers’ Unity Movement expressed full support to the struggle of the workers of Airports Authority of India against privatization. The dharna ended with the determination to vigorously fight all the attempts to privatize the airports. Employees have decided to hold protest agitations during their lunch break on all coming Wednesdays in the airport premises.