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New Delhi:

Trinamool Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien on Thursday slammed national carrier Air India over its decision to send its employees to ‘leave without pay, saying the scheme is “unprecedented” and a “ploy” to protect the top management and sacrifice the employees.

In a series of tweets, Trinamool spokesperson O’Brien said, “Air India’s compulsory leave without pay scheme is unprecedented in the history of public sector undertakings. An obvious ploy to protect top management and sacrifice employees.”

He said the move violated labour norms, terming it as “anti-worker and arbitrary”.

“This is match-fixing for proposed Air India buyers. Retrenchment in a new name,” he tweeted, adding: “If top management is bloated, why sacrifice employees? No worker has sought this scheme. It denies workers rights, right to life and livelihood. Shocking that a PSU would use and throw employees in the face of a pandemic when 150+ #AirIndians tested Covid+ve doing Vande Bharat Missions.”

His remarks came a day after the national carrier instituted a scheme whereby employees can opt to take ‘leave without pay’ ranging from six months to up to five years.

Additionally, the airline’s management will also have the option to send any employee on leave based on a few criteria.

An Air India staff notice, which was reviewed by IANS, read: “The Board of Directors in its 102nd meeting held on July 7, 2020, has approved a scheme whereby employees can opt to take ‘leave without pay’ ranging from six months or for two years and the same can be extended to up to five years.”

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