Senior Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien on Sunday wrote to the Civil Aviation Ministry, urging it to ensure that Air India withdraws its decision to send a section of its employees on leave without pay for up to five years.
Terming it an “inhuman scheme” which is in sharp contrast to the Centre’s earlier advisories, the TMC national spokesperson said the government has shown a complete lack of empathy and refusal to acknowledge the selfless service of Air India employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the letter to Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, he said that about 150 Air India employees have tested COVID-19 positive so far.
“The scheme is in sharp contrast with the central government’s earlier advisories directing all states to mandate that employers in all industries, shops and establishments must pay their workers without any deduction during the period of lockdown,” he said.
The leader of the TMC in the Rajya Sabha said that the compulsory leave without pay scheme is unprecedented in the history of public sector undertakings in India.
Holding that the process of formulating the scheme “could not have been more undemocratic”, he said that “no one was involved to advocate or argue or look out for the employees’ interest during its formulation”.
He wrote that the scheme denies workers their right to life and livelihood and highly arbitrary in the present situation.
Later, Hardeep Puri clarified that the scheme is ‘voluntary’.