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Air India unions threaten indefinite strike from November 2 to retain staff quarters

Published : Friday, 15 October, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 177

MUMBAI, Oct 13: Air India ground staff and service engineers have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from November 2 over the airline's recent notice asking them to vacate their staff quarters within six months of privatisation of the national carrier.
Three unions, representing a majority of ground employees have demanded that the airline allow them to use the residential quarters till their retirement.
The national carrier is expected to begin next year as a Tata-owned private airline.
In an October 5 circular, Air India ordered its employees to sign an an undertaking stating that they will vacate their quarters in six months time post privatisation. The deadline for submitting the undertaking is October 20.
On Wednesday, the joint action committee of Air India unions submitted the strike notice to the regional labour commissioner over this issue.
Over 7,000 Air India employees live in Air India colonies that occupies about 184 acres of land in Kalina, Santacruz.
In its letter to the labour commissioner, the unions said that the lands on which the colonies are situated are leased in perpetuity by Airports Authority of India (AAI) to Air India.
"Hence AAI are the owners of the land and the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), is only a tenant. There is no reason for Air India to vacate the colonies in a tearing hurry and hand over the land to the Adani Group who have taken over the Mumbai airport," said the letter.
"There are several slums on airport land who have not been served notices. The Maharashtra government is the custodian of land records and their permission is essential for the transfer and/or change of user of land," the letter said demanding a withdrawal of the October 5 circular.
"If the management has a legal right to ask the employees to vacate their houses in these colonies where is the question of seeking any undertaking from the employees," the letter said adding that the management demand "seeks to effect changes which impinges upon the legal rights relating to the service conditions of the employees" as provided under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
"Staff quarters are given mostly to staff who do not have a house in Mumbai and are not paid HRA. As such they are legally entitled to the accommodation as a service condition and legal right that has been in existence for several decades," the letter said.The first buildings in the airline colony were constructed in 1956, over a decade after the Mumbai airport opened for flights.    �TNN







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