Mumbai/New Delhi: Air India de-recognised its two major trade unions, sealed their offices and sacked 58 employeees in an unprecedented crackdown triggering a call for another strike from June 12 by defiant union leaders.
The unions and management appeared headed for fresh confrontation following today`s strike call by the Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) given just a day after the state-owned airline crushed the two-day old strike by a section of Air India employees.
The ACEU was derecognised along with All India Aircraft Engineers` Association (AIAEA). The striking employees accounted for roughly 60 percent of AI staff strength.
Clearing the backlog, the airline gradually restored normalcy by evening though 25 flights were cancelled for the day. International flights were normal, an official said.
Coming down heavily on union leaders and employees shortly after they withdrew the strike following a Delhi High Court order and some tough talk by the Government, the Management today terminated the services of 41 more employees -- some of them Union leaders -- taking the total number who were sacked in two days to 58.
Another 24 employees have been suspended after nine more faced this action on Thursday.
This is the first time that employees have been sacked by Air India in large numbers.
ACEU and 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 on Thursday. NACIL is the holding company of Air India.
"The de-recognition order came in last night and their offices have also been sealed," the sources said.Courts have also been approached for caveats, an AI official said.
ACEU General Secretary JB Kadiyan said another notice for strike from June 12 has been served by the union.
"Air India`s CMD Arvind Jadhav is carrying out dictatorship. He is bent on destroying the airline. He is trying to instigate the workers to go for action and then declare a lockout on that pretext," he said.
"This is a conspiracy," Kadiyan told reporters in New Delhi, accusing Jadhav of following a "Hitlerian" approach.
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.
Kadiyan while claiming that the management initiated disciplinary proceedings "immediately after we signed the conciliation proceedings last evening" said "the employees who did not join the strike were also served termination notices".
"We withdrew our strike on a personal appeal by Chief Labour Commissioner S K Mukhopadhyay and in the interest of the company," the ACEU leader said, adding that all offices of ACEU and AIAEA across the country were sealed through the night.
"Our offices have not only been sealed but the management representatives have tampered with our records and even taken away some of them. How shall we fight the court battle when we don`t have any record? How can we function," he said.
"Our records have been sealed and we cannot take any legal remedy. We can`t reply to the notices issued by the court," Kadiyan added.