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53 sacked AI staff rehired as government tries to infuse confidence in ailing airline

Tthe government reinstates 53 employees who were sacked in May last year after they went on a two-day flash strike to enthuse confidence amongst its 31,000-odd employees.

Sanjay Singh | September 17, 2011 | Updated 08:15 IST

In a development that has sent a strong signal about the government's seriousness to change the fate of ailing national carrier Air India and enthuse confidence amongst its 31,000-odd employees, the government has reinstated 53 employees who were sacked in May last year after they went on a two-day flash strike.

J.B. Kadian, general secretary of the Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU), who was also reinstated, said that two engineers have not been reinstated as they have not withdrawn their case which they had filed in the court against the airline management. ACEU claims the support of more than 12,000 Air India employees.

"All 53 employees have joined again after more than a year. We had withdrawn our case before the court. We had met the minister (civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi) yesterday (on Thursday) and he assured us that he would like to take all employees into confidence," said Kadian. Employees of the state-led national carrier have been in low spirits following delay in payment of their salaries, including non-payment of their performance-linked incentives (PLI), which forms a major part of their salary.

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A top Air India official said that the reinstatement of the 55 employees has been on the agenda for a long time and was being regularly pursued by aviation minister Vayalar Ravi. Air India employees have not been on good terms with Vayalar Ravi's predecessor Praful Patel, and former Air India chairman and managing director (CMD) Arvind Jadhav who had pitched for their dismissal.

The employees of the ailing carrier have accused Patel of ruining the carrier while benefiting private airlines. The national carrier had dismissed 17 officials, including union leaders, and suspended 15 engineers and others, which included other technical employees.

In May 2010, the employees of Air India went on a strike demanding pay parity (with expatriate employees, especially pilots) and removal of the then chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav, who was recently replaced by senior civil aviation ministry official Rohit Nandan.

The airline's unions were also upset after the carrier supposedly issued a gag order on employees, barring them from speaking to the media about safety-related issues. Air India provides office premises and other basic facilities, including telephone, to the member employees who are part of their recognised unions - around 13 of them - to do union activities.

Courtesy: Mail Today 

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