Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Staff of airport ground handlingagency protest after co shuts op

Thiruvananthapuram: More than 160 employees of Bhadra International, one of the two ground handling agencies at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, have been left in lurch after the firm wound up its operations last year without settling their allowances.

The employees on Tuesday staged a dharna in front of the airport under the aegis of confederation of Trivandrum airport workers trade union, a joint forum of all trade unions operating in the Thiruvananthapuam International Airport. CPM state secretariat member and former MLA V Sivankutti inaugurated the dharna.

The workers staged the dharna after the company failed to pay their allowances, including gratuity, bonus (from April 2019), leave encashments and pending salaries.

According to R S Vijayamohan, president of Thiruvananthapuram international and domestic airport contract workers’ union (CITU), the employees of the company had been working on slashed salaries for nearly a year. In March 2020, before the lockdown was announced, the airport authorities had even served a notice to Bhadra International management regarding termination of their service after they defaulted in paying license fee. In October, the agency wound up its operations. However, they were not able to shift their equipment worth several crore, owing to the stiff protest from workers.

The workers have also filed an industrial dispute suit before the regional labour commissioner seeking their intervention to settle the pending allowances.

The trade union has placed a request before the airport authorities to rehabilitate the employees abandoned by Bhadra International by giving them first priority while appointing new ground handling agency at the airport. They have also requested airport director not to release the equipment owned by Bhadra International without settling the industrial dispute or without producing the ‘no objection certificate’ from the regional labour commissioner.

06/01/21 Times of India

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