Madras HC Stops Air India From Evicting Employees From Their Homes; Medical Benefits Should Continue
The house of Tata might have bought back the legendary Maharaja a while back but its struggle with the airline is far from over. This time it is an association of employees of Air India which has become a stumbling block in the transition process.
Air India stopped evicting employees from accommodation provided
In the latest episode of the Air India Saga, the Madras high court has restrained Air India and the civil aviation ministry from evicting employees of the airline from the accommodation provided to them by the company. It has also stopped them from discontinuing the medical benefits currently extended to them.
Justice V Parthiban passed the interim order while admitting a plea moved by Air Corporation Employees’ Union – an association of employees of Air India.
The employees association is also seeking to restrain the ministry from proceeding further with the process of disinvestment of Air India Limited in any manner. Before proceeding ahead the association wants to ensure that there are appropriate measures to protect the terms and conditions of their service and rights.
Association demands to disclose purchase agreement
The association is demanding to the government to disclose the contents of the share purchase agreement entered into with Talace Private Ltd. Talace Private Ltd is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of Tata Sons Limited.
As per the petitioner, neither the Union government nor the management of Air India had shared the draft share purchase agreement with the petitioner prior to signing it nor disclosed the contents of the share purchase agreement to the association till date. The petitioner is claiming that such non-disclosure is in violation of the rights of the employees protected under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution which has been held to include the right to know.
Issues of Job Security need to be addressed
According to the petition, the government and Air India have failed to address the issue of job security, wage revision, retention of colony accommodation, continuance of existing medical benefits, leave encashment, and many other issues.
If the issues are not addressed before the completion of the process of disinvestment, the association said it will result in the violation of the fundamental rights of the employees protected under Articles 14, 15, 16, and 21 of the Constitution.
The association reiterated that any attempt to evict employees from the company accommodation provided after the disinvestment without affecting any increase in their House Rent Allowance (HRA) will deprive the employees and their family members of the right to decent housing.