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58 Air India employees sacked

New Delhi: In an unprecedented action, Air India sacked another 41 employees, taking the number of staffers whose services have been terminated for going on an ‘illegal’ strike to 58 even as it de-recognised two unions which led the stir.

The national carrier has also suspended 24 others, including 15 engineers, so far, Airline sources said.

The services of 58 staffers, including all office- bearers of the Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) and All India Aircraft Engineers Association (AIAEA), have been terminated, they said.

Since Wednesday night, the airline management has been busy sending termination and suspension notices and locking up the offices of the two unions all over the country, they said, adding that caveats have been moved in some courts to prevent any ex-parte decision if the unions challenge the step.

Adopting a tough stand, the management has issued notices to end recognition to the two unions which led the two-day strike that disrupted flights in the aftermath of the Mangalore air crash, one of the major disasters that struck the national carrier.

However, the Labour and Employment Ministry has maintained that the suspension and termination of services of Air India employees would not be applicable when the conciliation process at the level of Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) was going on, a Ministry source said.

Introduction of the slip system required that the cockpit crew would operate to New York and back after necessary rest periods at London and New York, instead of being based at both the places.

But they were taken back in the airline after nearly four years and Mathur subsequently took over as Managing Director in February 1994, former airline officials said.

In the second instance, the Indian Pilots’ Guild went on strike over the SARS issue which snowballed and led to the de-registration of the Guild and sacking of its then General Secretary Capt Sansare.

Another case in India’s civil aviation sector was sacking of the office-bearers of the Air Traffic Control Guild when they went on an indefinite strike. The case went on for several years, with most of them being finally taken back.

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