Hours after crushing the two-day old strike by Air India employees, the state-owned airline de-recognised two major trade unions and sealed their offices across the country.
The airline gradually restored normalcy since morning though 25 flights were cancelled for the day.
Erstwhile Indian Airlines' union Air Corporation Employees' Union (ACEU) and All India Aircraft Engineers' Association (AIAEA) have been de-recognised by the management of National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) and their offices have also been sealed, NACIL sources said today. NACIL is the holding company of Air India.
Besides terminating the services of 17 office-bearers of the two Unions last night, the airline suspended 15 engineers. More dismissals and suspensions are likely to follow with highly-placed sources indicating that a total of upto 100 employees would face action.
"The de-recognition order came in last night and their offices have also been sealed," the sources said, as the airline cracked down on the Union leaders.
Dinkar Shetty, a leader of the ACEU, said they were waiting for a formal communication from the management regarding termination and suspension before deciding on the future course of action.
ACEU and AIAEA had gone on a flash-strike on Tuesday to protest a 'gag order' directing the office-bearers of NACIL trade union to refrain from making public statements and harming the image of the company.
The Unions were demanding immediate withdrawal of the 'gag order'. But the Management claimed there was only a general circular which has been upheld by the Mumbai High Court and that there was no such 'gag order.'
The strike led to cancellation of 130 flights affecting 13,000 passengers. Besides, NACIL also incurred losses to the tune of Rs 10 crore due to the strike.
Shortly after the strike was called off, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the kind of behaviour shown by the striking employees cannot be tolerated repeatedly. "Whoever did it are absolutely irresponsible," he said.
The strike was called off following a Delhi High Court order yesterday. The Government had also turned the heat on the striking employees giving a free hand to Air India management to take stern action against them. About 20,000 employees belonging to ACEU and AIAEA had gone on strike, according to the Unions. The striking employees accounted for roughly 60 per cent of the airline's staff.