Owner file

Air India unions file pleas against planned employee evictions

Air India unions have petitioned the Bombay High Court to challenge the proposed eviction of employees from the staff settlements in Mumbai.

Unions argue that the airline’s letter asking employees to leave the office by July 26 amounts to a change in terms of service. This, they said, is a violation of labor dispute law.

It obliges companies to give notice to union members before adopting a modification of the conditions of service.

Aggrieved by management’s action, the Aviation Industry Employees Guild (AIEG), Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) and All India Service Engineers Association (AISEA) filed separate motions to quash the Letters of October and May from airline to staff. Currently, around 1,600 families reside in AI’s staff quarters at Kalina in Mumbai.

“Accommodation award is provided till retirement/termination of service as per Air India award rules. There is no provision for unilateral and arbitrary termination as desired in the present case,” the IAEG said in its motion.

In addition, service engineers pointed out that the airline could not have issued a letter requesting the release of the apartments pending the conclusion of the conciliation procedure. The conciliation ultimately ended in failure.

Last September, the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued some guidelines to Air India on the issue of retaining staff in the offices. In turn, the airline asked employees to commit to leaving their accommodation within six months of the divestment.

The employees issued a strike notice against him and the matter was referred to the office of the labor commissioner for conciliation.

“How can employees be expelled overnight during the monsoon just because of the privatization of the airline? This is our plea,” said AIEG lawyer Ashok Shetty.

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