Treat us as frontline staff, give us vaccine shots: Air India’s Mumbai staff
National carrier Air India’s Mumbai-based employees’ union has appealed to the management that they, as frontline workers, should be inoculated against Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19, on a priority basis.
“The employees of Air India have been on the frontlines since the beginning of the pandemic. Employees at every level have put their service to the nation before their own lives and worked tirelessly for the Vande Bharat Mission. In this context, we request that the employees of Air India be given the vaccination on a priority basis. This will ensure that Air Indians can continue serving the nation,” stated a February 19 letter to the chairman from the Air India Employees Union (AIEU).
In December, AIEU had also written to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri requesting a meeting and seeking an extension of the medical scheme, leave encashment and provident fund benefits in the event of privatisation of Air India.
Due to the privatisation process, the union had urged the aviation ministry to ensure that the present medical benefits are extended, arrears to the employees are paid, the two provident fund trusts and the leave encashment scheme are continued.
In January last year, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) initiated the privatisation of Air India. However, the process was delayed due to the pandemic and December 14, 2020, was fixed as the deadline for bidders to submit expressions of interest.
Air India had a total of 14,032 employees, including 9,426 permanent and contractual workers, as of November 1, 2019, as per the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) issued on January 20 last year.