Casual workers of the Air India moved to Bombay High court seeking direction to the government-run airline to provide them work as because of the coronavirus and lockdown they have become jobless and deprived them of wages.
A Bench of Justices R.D. Dhanuka and V.G. Bisht heard their plea on Friday. They issued a notice to Air India and directed the national carrier to respond within two weeks.
The application has been filled by at least 250 workers of the Air India through senior counsel Gayatri Singh and advocates Mini Mathur.
In the interim application filed through Air India Ltd Kamgar Sangh, the petitioners stated that most of the casual workers belong to economically weaker sections and are dependent on daily wages from the airline.
The petitioners are employed by Air India at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.
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According to the plea, casual workers are allowed to work for a maximum of 240 days a year, and for services rendered by them they are paid Rs 535 for each day.
Casual workers who have been litigating over uniformity and revision of pay, among other issues for several years in various courts, are employed by the airline on a rotational basis as baggage handlers, catering assistants, security scanners, and bus drivers.
The petitioners in the plea asserted that they had been working for the airline for the last 25 to 30 years.
The plea stated that in May when the airline resumed service, most of them have not been called back for work, though the permanent employees and those on the contract had been given work.
While the petitioners claimed that while some casual workers who live around or near the airport have been called and given the work but 250 workers have not been called back.
The petition reads- “The lockdown period has wrecked devastation. The casual workers are in desperate need of the work and wages” and according to the plea the workers have not received the wages since March.
The plea also stated that the workers have also demanded transport facilities to travel to work and even asked for similar safety measures as those provided to permanent workers.
Through a writ petition filed last year, the petitioners are already litigating in the high court over implementation of its previous orders on job regularization and other reliefs.