Air Corporation Employees' Union (ACEU) general secretary J.B. Kadiyan has charged Air India Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav with functioning like a dictator.

“Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav is functioning like a dictator. He is bent upon destroying the airline. He is trying to instigate the workers to go in for action and then declare a lockout on that pretext. This is a conspiracy,” he told journalists.

The ACEU and the Air India Aircraft Engineers' Association went on a flash-strike on Tuesday to protest what they called a “gag order” clamped on their office-bearers to prevent them from making public statements and harming the image of Air India at a time when the airline was facing a crisis after the Mangalore crash that killed 158 people. “We withdrew our strike on a personal appeal by Chief Labour Commissioner S.K. Mukhopadhyay and in the interest of the company,” Mr. Kadiyan said.

He said the offices of the unions were not only sealed but management representatives tampered with the records and taken away some of them. “How shall we fight the court battle when we don't have any record? How can we function?”

Though the airline has taken strong measures in the past to crush strikes, it is for the first time that such a large number of employees have been sacked or suspended.

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