Thursday, October 14, 2021

Sort out pending salary, dues and other employee issues before privatisation: Air India unions

Mumbai: Before it moves out of government hands, national carrier Air India - currently enroute to being privatised - has a host of employee issues to sort out. Among them are employees’ leave encashment options, return to pre-Covid salary, payment of pending dues and arrears, sorting out Air India staff quarters issues and like, all of which were listed in a letter sent by Air India joint action forum of unions to Rajiv Bansal, civil aviation secretary on Wednesday.

In the letter, the unions demanded that the option to encash or carry forward immediately their privilege leave, sick leave be clarified before the handover. "Those who opt to encash it now may commence with new leave accounts, and those who have opted to carry forward may be credited with that leave balance," the letter said.

About the Air India colonies, the unions said that the ministries’ letters have been very harsh in principle, demanding that all employees sign undertakings in 15 days or pay 15 lakhs penalties. "We urge you to intercede on behalf of the Air Indians who reside in these colonies to allow them to reside in them for a reasonable period of at least a year. Since the new buyer is providing employees with a one-year employment guarantee, the colony facility should at least be co-terminus with that date, if not until VRS is provided," the letter said.

The unions sought clarity on the medical benefits for the serving and the retired/ retiring employees. "We have constantly demanded that all permanent employees be given the right to post-retirement benefits of medical and passage," it said. It is estimated that some 2400 permanent employees are being left out of the retirement scheme for want of completion of the 20 years clause. All permanent employees should be entitled to these benefits, the union letter demanded.

Another issue was the salary cut imposed last year due to the pandemic. "The allowances of all employees had been cut during the first wave of Covid last year. Now that the flying is fast reaching normalization and passenger traffic getting back to pre-Covid levels, we must return to our pre-Covid emoluments," it said.

14/10/21 Manju V/Times of India

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