Since July 24, the AAI is not renewing the passes of casual helpers who are entitled to work for 180 days at a stretch

As many as 104 casual labourers of Air India (AI) employed in various wings at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport for over two decades are likely to become jobless from August 1 with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) deciding not to renew their passes.

Since July 24, the AAI is not renewing the passes of casual helpers who are entitled to work for 180 days at a stretch. The passes issued by the AAI is mandatory for entering the airport premises as casual helpers are engaged in loading, cargo, departure, driving, security, and engineering wings. Of the 104 casual helpers in the rolls now, 42 are working in the loading section, 17 in the cargo wing, five in the departure section, nine in the driving, 14 in the security, and five in the engineering section.

The Manager (Commercial) Thiruvananthapuram international airport, has communicated the decision not to renew the passes of casual helpers at a meeting held on July 16 at the office of the Airport Director as per the decisions received from the AAI headquarters in New Delhi. The issue had also been communicated to the concerned, including the Station Manager and Airport Manager of Air India on July 24.

The casual helpers who are in the age group of 25 to 50 years are running from pillar to post on the hope that the national carrier will take steps to renew their passes. “We have not been communicated anything. The authorities are not renewing the passes of those who had completed 180 days. And today we have come to know that they are trying to terminate all of us by July 31,” one of the causal helpers said.

Each casual helper gets Rs.275 a day for an eight hour shift and Rs.34 for overtime. The causal helpers said the national carrier had always sidelined them and never bothered to provide uniform, safety shoes, and other facilities. In some sections such as, the casual helpers were working for 24 hours at a stretch from July 2011.

They said that while their passes became invalid after 180 days, their counterparts in Kozhikode and Chennai were allowed to work for 210 days at a stretch. The casual helpers alleged that the decision not to renew their passes was aimed at posting new personnel by the two ground handing agencies in the premier international airport of the State.