Derek O'Brien urges Civil Aviation Minister to withdraw Air India's LWP scheme

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], July 19 (ANI): Calling it "inhuman", Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O'Brien has urged the Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to withdraw Air India's Leave Without Pay (LWP) scheme. "This scheme, announced in these difficult times, is highly arbitrary. It denies workers their right to life and livelihood. It does not embody the ideals of labour rights that the country aspires to achieve. I, therefore, urge you immediately to withdraw this inhuman scheme and also ensure the payment of salaries due to the employees," O'Brien wrote. He also called the process of formulating the LWP scheme for its employees as "undemocratic". "The process of formulating the scheme could not have been more undemocratic. No worker has sought this scheme. No one was involved to advocate or argue or look out for the employees' interest during its formulation. It is a straightforward case of strong-arming the unrepresented," O'Brien wrote to Puri on July 17. He said that the scheme is in 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. "About 150 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. Despite the huge role of Air India employees in their service to the nation, the Ministry has resorted to 'use and throw' policy during the pandemic. They have not even been paid their salaries on time," he further wrote. O'Brien on Thursday had called the LWP scheme an attempt to "save the top management and sacrifice the interests of employees". "Air India's compulsory leave without pay scheme is unprecedented in the history of PSUs. An obvious ploy to protect top management and sacrifice employees. The move violates labour norms, is anti-worker and arbitrary. This is match-fixing for proposed #AirIndia buyers. Retrenchment in a new name," O'Brien had tweeted earlier. On Wednesday, Air India had approved a scheme for sending employees on LWP for a time period ranging from six months to two years which can be extended up to five years. (ANI)

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