Remaining Air India Colony residents get relief from dispossession till Oct 28

Updated on Sep 30, 2022 12:41 AM IST

The HC also directed the Central government to take a “fresh decision” on referring the labour department’s failure report -- with regard to conciliatory proceedings initiated after the employees’ strike notice in November 2021, when they were first asked to vacate the premises -- to the Central Government Industrial Tribunal, by October 12

Mumbai, India - September 23, 2022: General view of the Air India Colony, at Kalina, in Mumbai, India, on Friday, September 23, 2022. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times) (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
Mumbai, India - September 23, 2022: General view of the Air India Colony, at Kalina, in Mumbai, India, on Friday, September 23, 2022. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times) (Pratik Chorge/HT PHOTO)
ByPrayag Arora-Desai

Mumbai: Around 565 remaining families at Air India’s four staff colonies in Kalina, who had earlier been ordered to vacate their company-allotted houses by September 24, have been given relief from dispossession till October 28 by the Bombay High Court (HC), via an order dated September 29.

“We make it abundantly clear that beyond 28th October 2022, action may be taken in accordance with law against those employees who fail to vacate the accommodation provided to them by Air India Ltd. in terms with the Housing Allotment Rules,” noted Chief Justice Madhav J Jamdar.

The HC also directed the Central government to take a “fresh decision” on referring the labour department’s failure report -- with regard to conciliatory proceedings initiated after the employees’ strike notice in November 2021, when they were first asked to vacate the premises -- to the Central Government Industrial Tribunal, by October 12.

In June this year, the deputy chief labour commissioner, Mumbai, had declared the conciliatory proceedings between employees and the airline to have “ended in failure”, prompting residents to approach the HC.

“It is extremely suspicious that the Centre is refusing to refer the failure notice to the Industrial Tribunal, which is the appropriate body to decide on the matter,” said George Abraham, general secretary, Aviation Industry Employees Guild (AIEG).

On October 7, 2021, the residents – employees of Air India and its two subsidiaries, AI ESL and AI ASL – were asked to vacate their homes within six months of the airline’s sale to Tata Sons, which was completed in January this year. This, despite the fact that they are entitled to housing until retirement at the age of 58.

According to Abraham, this makes the matter a labour issue that ought to be resolved under the Industrial Disputes Act. “It becomes totally untenable to change their service conditions, which clearly gives them the right to housing,” he said.

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