Air India unions threaten to go on strike from next month

Dubai - Tata group had asked its employees to sign an undertaking about vacating staff quarters.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 14 Oct 2021, 10:09 AM

Air India unions have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from November 2 after the airline’s employees were asked to vacate their staff quarters in six months.

The Times of India reported that the carrier’s new owner Tata group had asked its employees to sign an undertaking about vacating the staff quarters. The employees will have to submit undertakings by October 20.

The Joint Action Committee of AI Unions on Wednesday issued a notice to Mumbai's labour commissioner, saying they may go on an indefinite strike.

The agitating unions include Air Corporation Employees Union, Aviation Industry Employees Guild and All India Service Engineers Association, Business Standard reported.

Earlier this month, New Delhi accepted an offer from Talace Pvt Ltd, a unit of Tata group, to acquire the debt-laden Air India for 18,000 crores. The transaction is expected to close in December 2021.

The joint action committee of the union submitted the strike notice to the regional labour commissioner on Wednesday. Three unions of the Indian carrier asked Tata to allow the employees to use residential quarters till their retirement.

Currently, more than 7,000 employees live in Air India’s staff quarters.

"Staff quarters are given mostly to staff who do not have a house in Mumbai and are not paid HRA (house rent allowance). 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 unions said in the letter submitted to the labour commissioner.

The Indian civil aviation regulator has extended the ban on international passenger flights until October 31, 2021. However, the ban does not apply to cargo flights and those approved by the regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

On October 12, India's civil aviation ministry said domestic flights in the country will fly at full capacity from October 18.

The government's move ahead of the Indian festive season comes as a boon to the struggling domestic carriers which were starting to see some improvements in passenger traffic due to a drop in Covid-19 infections in most states.

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