Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said equity infusion of ₹500-600 crore every year is not sustainable and cost-cutting in Air India is necessary.
Air India has approved a leave without pay (LWP) scheme for employees of six months or two years extendable up to five years. The airline management can also compulsorily send employees for LWP depending on their suitability, competence and health.
“Accordingly, departmental heads at headquarters and regional directors of the region are required to assess each individual on the above mentioned factors and identify the cases where option of compulsory LWP can be exercised. Names (to be approved by) CMD,” an office order issued Tuesday says.
Air India on Tuesday said it has started the process of identifying employees, based on various factors like efficiency, health and redundancy, who will be sent on compulsory leave without pay (LWP) for up to five years.
The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the coronavirus pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, LWP and firings of employees in order to conserve cash flow.
“Today, there is a surplus of aircraft, there is a surplus of trained people available and it is a strain all airlines are facing. All airlines are indulging in this thing. So, terms like match-fixing and all are better left to games like cricket. Leave airline operations to those who know how to run an airline,” Puri noted.
Earlier in the day, O’Brien said on Twitter, “Air India’s compulsory leave without pay scheme is unprecedented in the history of Public Sector Undertakings. An obvious ploy to protect top management and sacrifice employees. The move violates labor norms, is anti-worker and arbitrary. This is match-fixing for proposed #AirIndia buyers. Retrenchment in a new name.”
“If top management is bloated, why sacrifice employees? No worker has sought this scheme. It denies workers rights, right to life, and livelihood. Shocking that a PSU would use and throw employees in the face of a pandemic when 150 Air Indians tested COVID +ve doing Vande Bharat Mission,” tweeted O’Brien, who is also the leader of the TMC in the Rajya Sabha.
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