Air India employees plan to approach the Bombay High Court and the Maharashtra government to protest possible eviction from staff quarters in Mumbai.
Employees took the call at a protest meeting on Sunday, April 17 which was attended by Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar and NCP leader Vidya Chavan.
In October 2021, the airline issued notices to 1200 Air India employees to give an undertaking that they would vacate their staff quarters in the Kalina area of Mumbai within six months of disinvestment.
Employee unions protested the move and served a strike notice. The issue is now pending before the labour commissioner’s office which initiated a conciliation process.
“We have consulted our lawyers. After the close of conciliation proceedings we will move Bombay High Court. We feel we will get relief from the court.
Air India’s four staff colonies in Kalina, spread over 310 acres have a total of 1600 flats that house Air India engineers, ground staff and employees, who are allocated the staff quarters in lieu of HRA.
About 80% of employees in these staff quarters are those working with Air India’s ground handling and engineering companies, both of which are still government-owned companies.”George Abraham, General Secretary, Aviation Industry Employees Guild
Kirtikar said Shiv Sena will support the Air India employees and stage protests to protect their homes.
Abraham alleged that the airline has tried to pressurize the employees to give an undertaking by withholding their arrears. He also pointed out that the Air India colony also houses employees from ground handing and engineering companies which have not been privatised.
The employees have demanded that they should be allowed to live in the quarters till their retirement. The first of the quarters was constructed by Air India in 1955.
The land on which these colonies stand belongs to the state government, which leased it to the government-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) and thereafter to Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), currently under the Adani Group of Companies.