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INTERVIEW| Wage Cuts, LWP: Is This How Govt Rewards ‘Corona Warriors’? – Air India Joint Union

by Jyoti

Indian nationwide air provider – Air India – lately introduced wage minimize for workers and likewise obligatory Leave Without Pay to offset the losses incurred because of Covid-19. While Air India has justified the transfer by saying that the air provider isn’t shedding any worker like different carriers, numerous Air India unions have been opposing the transfer saying wage cuts and obligatory Leave with out pay isn’t a strategy to reward ‘Corona warriors’?

Here’s our unique interview with Air India Joint Forum of All Unions:

Who all are part of the Air India Joint Forum of All Unions, who do you signify and what’s the objective?

The Air India Joint Forum of Unions is a free association the place totally different AI Unions come collectively for a typical agenda like on this case, in opposition to privatisation. We are workers; we’re pilots, cabin crew, floor workers who’ve labored tirelessly for the nationwide provider and want our issues to be voiced. Unions aren’t sure in any method and are free to pursue points individually or as a Forum. The major agenda of the Forum is to combat privatisation. At the second, we’re fiercely in opposition to the most recent order that forces obligatory Leave Without Pay as much as 5 years on devoted Air India workers.

Air India has been watching an uncertainty for much too lengthy, however this time across the ministry appears very clear. Aviation Minister mentioned that ‘the government is in no position to support Air India’. What has been the resultant affect on workers?

Yes. Minister made such statements that GoI is not going to help Air India. Earlier this yr, the minister made a press release that if Air India didn’t get an investor then we are going to shut it down by March. We had opposed this irresponsible assertion by writing to the Prime Minister.

As it turned out in March, Air India worker had been risking their lives in evacuation flights as a service to the nation throughout the lockdown. When the pandemic led to a nationwide catastrophe, the GoI had no alternative however to entrust AI with the Vande Bharat Mission to carry again Indians stranded everywhere in the world and likewise for different Charter Flights for motion of important Cargo. The job was undertaken easily and effectively even from off line stations. The floor dealing with was additionally completed at Indian Airports by the subsidiary of Air India viz. Air India Airport Services Ltd.

Such statements by the Aviation Minister regardless of the invaluable contribution serve no function however to demoralise workers.

The Coronavirus Pandemic introduced quite a few challenges earlier than Air India pilots and cabin crew. They’ve been applauded as Corona warriors throughout evacuation and rescue flights. Are the identical pilots now dealing with the specter of as much as 5 years of LWP?

All workers, pilots and floor workers have risked their lives, we’ve contributed by serving passengers and working cargo at airports. Even technical workers had been dealing with Aircraft Equipment and had been uncovered to the Virus.

And now, all of us are underneath the specter of “Compulsory Leave’” which is against the law and demotivating. We have put our lives on the road, many people examined constructive for Covid19. Some of us have even misplaced their lives to the pandemic, within the line of obligation. The Cabin crew which took on these evacuation and rescue flights, the bottom workers and workers who continued to work via the pandemic, they had been all in danger. And regardless of risking our lives, we’re now dealing with the worst type of therapy. We don’t want the applause, we’d like our salaries. Is this how the federal government rewards ‘Corona warriors’? By wage cuts and 5 years of Leave Without Pay?

The discussion board has written to the Prime Minister thanking him for the popularity given to Air India workers and likewise about now being let down. What do you ask of the federal government?

The GoI is morally and legally sure to comply with the Law of the Land which don’t present for Compulsory Leave and Wage Cut. Therefore now we have demanded revocation of those two steps taken unilaterally and as an alternative take mutually acceptable selections in session with the Unions by way of part 9A if ID Act,1947 to tide over the crises. All we would like is our justified issues to be addressed. We need an viewers with the administration. There’s a distinction between voluntary LWP and compelled obligatory LWP. The Prime Minister lauded our efforts throughout the pandemic, we would like him to assist us out of this disaster now.

How a lot of you stand lose your supply of livelihood as issues stand?

The future is unsure for all workers and there may be appreciable apprehensions of their minds. The industrial relations within the firm is at its lowest ebb and the Management should interact with the Unions to make sure a workable Turn Around Plan. Surprisingly whereas promotions to all classes had been denied, Executives gifted themselves with giant variety of unjustified promotions throughout the pandemic. So whereas nearly all of the workforce are always susceptible to shedding every part, the highest degree bosses are unaffected.

The authorities says it has two choices in the meanwhile, both shutdown the defunct airline or resort to controversial value reducing measures comparable to yearlong LWP. The second try at Disinvestment is underway, however do you’re feeling there’s hope?

Shutting down the Airline isn’t an possibility which the GoI is aware of very properly. We agree that some austerity measures are required however they need to be taken with the consent of Unions as envisioned within the Law. In the current circumstances with the collapse of two main personal Airlines and different personal carriers incurring enormous losses, AI is the one hope for Indian Aviation.

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