Talks to continue on de-recognition of two unions, sacking of 56 employees

All 32 Air India employees, who were suspended after a two-day flash strike in May this year, would be reinstated, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel assured Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Gurudas Dasgupta on Tuesday.

Mr. Dasgupta, who met Mr. Patel along with representatives of the two Air India employees' unions here, said the Minister also assured him that a large number of contractual workers in Alliance Air, a subsidiary of erstwhile Indian Airlines, would be absorbed in the organisation depending on their experience and efficiency standards.

Hopeful

“I am hopeful that the positive attitude displayed by Mr. Patel would also lead to resolution of other issues such as the sacking of 56 other employees,” Mr. Dasgupta, MP and a veteran trade union leader, told The Hindu.

However, Mr. Dasgupta said that he was against any “catcall strikes” by the unions and also disapproved of any form of violence.

First step

In a related development, CPI (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury also spoke to the Minister on telephone on the same issues. “Mr. Patel assured me that the issues have to be resolved with the unions. As a gesture and the first step, all the employees suspended will be reinstated,” Mr. Yechury said.

The CPI(M) leader, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture that also reviews the civil aviation sector, said talks would continue on other issues such as the sacking of the other employees and the de-recognition of two unions — Air Corporation Employees' Union (ACEU) and All-India Aircraft Engineers' Association (AIAEA) — which led the stir.

Consequent to this assurance, the Minister will hold discussions with representatives of unions soon, Mr. Yechury said.

Barely three days after the May 22 air-crash of an Air India Boeing 737, which was flying from Dubai, at the Mangalore International airport, employees of Air India had gone on a flash strike reportedly against a “gag order” on them for talking to the media on the accident and to protest the “delay” in payment of salaries.

Following the strike, the Air India management sacked 56 employees, including union leaders, suspended another 32 and de-recognised two unions which had led the stir. The strike was called off after the Delhi High Court restrained the agitators.

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