Over 20,000 Air India employees affiliated to Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) and Aviation Industry Employees Guild (AIEG) on Tuesday started a three day relay hunger strike at airports across the country in protest against delay in payment of salaries and arbitrary cut in productivity linked incentives (PLI).
The protest did not disrupt flight operations or work at Air India as off duty employees are participating in the hunger strike. An Air India spokesperson said that flight operations were normal.
It is a part of the unions’ strategy to highlight the ‘mismanagement’ that led to the near bankruptcy of Air India.
“We want the nation to know that the management is putting the whole blame and financial burden on employees who had no role in matters that led to the current condition. The management is only demoralising employees in the name of revival,” said Vivek Rao, secretary, ACEU.
The employees are angry that the management ‘unilaterally’ decided to cut PLI and crew flying allowance by 50 per cent to trim staff cost.
In a related development, Air India chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav in New Delhi held discussions with representatives of Air India’s 14 trade unions on issue on cutting PLI and other allowances of employees by 50 per cent.
On August 20, the Air India management unilaterally decided to cut perks of employees to bring down the cost and this had evoked wide spread protest among employees.
The two large unions—Air Corporation Employees Union and Aviation Industry Employees Guild —that have gone on the three-day hunger strike have categorically rejected any cut in their earnings.
“No cut in salary and PLI is acceptable to us. We have communicated this to the management. Those who are getting disproportionate PLI may take any cut,” said a union leader attached to AIEG.