Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Air India unions reject 'abominable' compulsory leave without pay plan

New Delhi: The government should halt Air India's "abominable" compulsory leave without pay (LWP) offer as it is not voluntary and is "illegal", six employee unions of the airline wrote to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday.

Air India, in an internal order on July 14, asked its departmental heads and regional directors to identify employees, based on various factors like efficiency, health and redundancy, who will be sent on LWP for up to five years.

Moreover, it said employees can voluntarily opt for the LWP scheme too.

"We are deeply ashamed to say that it seems that after praising our Air Indian Corona Warriors at grand functions, respectfully, the government has now turned a blind eye to this management's ethnic cleansing of Air Indians at the lower levels, through compulsory LWP, redundancies and wage cuts," the unions said in a joint letter to Puri.

"We once again request you to intervene and halt this abominable compulsory LWP scheme and grant us a meeting with yourself to discuss the way ahead for all of us together," they said.

The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to the travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, LWP and firings of employees in order to conserve cash flow.

The six unions -- Air Corporation Employees Union, All India Cabin Crew Association, Air India Employees Union, Air India Aircraft Engineers' Association, All India Aircraft Engineers' Association and Indian Aircraft Technicians Association -- said they oppose the compulsory LWP offer.
21/07/20 PTI/Business Standard
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