Financially stressed Air India has proposed a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) for its executive cadre employees to bring down manpower costs.
The Air India Board will deliberate on the scheme at a meeting today.
“This is the first time that VRS is being proposed for AI employees. It is a big step for cutting manpower in the best possible way,” a senior civil aviation ministry official said.
“If it gets through, the scheme will be put forth for approval of the government as special provisions for funds would have to be made for the same,” he added.
VRS or ‘golden handshake’ is often described as the most humane way to reduce the existing strength of the employees.
The scheme will be meant for the executive cadre of the airline, including the management. It will not be applicable to the operations arm that has pilots, engineers and cabin crews within its fold.
The scheme is part of the company’s turnaround plan, which was approved in April by the cabinet. The airline’s current workforce stands at 30,000. Of this, 19,000 will join the hived-off Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and Ground Handling (GH) business.
The board will also decide on the date of induction of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner into the carrier’s fleet and the normalisation of international operations that have been crippled by the 19-day ongoing pilots’ strike because of which the airline has lost Rs 290 crore in revenue.