Air India has asked 11 office bearers from three unions to report to work with immediate effect and has rolled back their ‘full-time release’ from work that was in place for discharging union responsibilities.
The national carrier, in its letters written on June 4, has asked four members each of Aviation Industry Employees’ Guild and Air India Employees’ Union and three members of Air India Service Engineers Association to report to work immediately.
“We found that these employees were not reporting to work, but some of them were actively involved more in their personal work and less in union work. The exemption from office work is only for union work. We have asked them to report to their respective departments immediately and rolled back their full-time release,” said a senior Air India official, who did not want to be identified.
Full-time release is a provision for office bearers, who do not have to report to duty and focus on union functioning.
The official added that some members are protesting against the order, which is on expected lines.
According to rules, all recognised unions in the airline are provided space for office and their office bearers are given extra leaves to look after the functioning of the union. “All other facilities remain the same,” said the official.
In another development, Air India is sending a proposal on reducing the number of unions in the airline to two and three more in two of its subsidiaries — one in Air India Transport services Limited and two in Air India Engineering Services Limited.
“We will need a Board approval to go ahead with it. Once we get the Board approval, we will decide on the unions through a secret ballot, where all the employees will be allowed to vote,” said the official.
The voting will be on the basis of pattern followed by the Indian Railways in 2007 that led to the reduction of unions to two from 34. As many as 1.4 million railway employees decided the number of unions, as well as their leadership, through secret ballot then.