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

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

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.
The unions demanded all their arrears, pending for years now, be settled before the handover. “For the erst. Erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots’ arrears go back to their 1997 agreement, while for the erstwhile Air India pilots and cabin crew it involves pending flying allowance arrears/ emoluments of 2006/ 2007 agreements and arrears arising out of the unilateral 25% pay cut made from 2012, the letter said adding that the arrears must be paid in full with interest prior to handover.”

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