Continuing with its clampdown on employees responsible for the two-day strike, the Air India management sacked another 41 on Thursday, taking the total to 58.
The number of employees who have been suspended rose to 24, up from 15 on Wednesday. AI management also de-recognised the two unions — All India Aircraft Engineers Association (AIAEA) and the Air Corporations Employees Union (ACEU) — who led the stir.
“Courts have been approached for caveats to prevent any ex-parte decision if the unions challenge the step,” AI said. Offices of the two unions across the country have been sealed.
The erstwhile unions constituted around 50 per cent of AI’s staff strength.
Officials said the action taken by the management was unprecedented. Though AI has taken measures to quell unrest, this is the first time that such a large number of employees have been sacked. In 1974, the office-bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild had been sacked.
All this has been possible with the backing of the government. “AI management is free to take all appropriate action... The management needs to act,” Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had said on Wednesday.
With the striking employees back, AI said it had operated around 90 per cent of the scheduled flights for Thursday. Around 20 were cancelled.
Giving the reasons for de-recognition, AI said, “AIAEA and ACEU have indulged in regular violations of code of discipline and of the settlements and acting in a manner resulting in the disruption of the normal working of the company and breach of industrial peace and harmony.”
ACEU has threatened to launch another strike from June 12. “AI CMD Arvind Jadhav is carrying out dictatorship. He is bent on destroying the airline,” said ACEU general secretary J.B. Kadian.
The CPM has demanded immediate withdrawal of action against AI union activists, whose services had been suspended or terminated.