New Delhi, [India]: Air India (AI) has started deducting the salaries of employees who did not vacate their company accommodations at Delhi’s Vasant Vihar and the Air India Colony in Mumbai.
The employees said they received their December salaries with heavy pay cuts in the range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 90,000. According to sources, more will be deducted in the coming days.
A letter was sent to Air India employees residing in Air India Colony at Kalina, Mumbai and Delhi’s Vasant Vihar, saying a fine of Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, respectively, will be deducted from their salaries and others.
“In addition, you are also liable to pay damage charges of Rs. 15/10 Lakh. Any liable charges, penal rent or damage charges would be recovered from salary/retirement/service benefits and any financial benefits accrued or likely to accrue in future including JDC arrear admissible to you,” the letter read.
The employees, who have not vacated their flats since August 2022, have had their salaries deducted since that month and it will continue till they vacate the properties.
Apart from the monthly deductions, they will also have to pay an additional penalty of Rs 10 lakh, sources said.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) sent a letter to Air India last year, conveying that those not vacating their accommodations will have to pay the monthly rent at twice the market rate, in addition to the fine.
“The letter dated September 29, 2021, of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, it has been decided to levy the penal rent equivalent to the sum of normal occupancy charges and double the market rent for the period of your unauthorised stay wef August 1, 2022 till date or till you vacate the company accommodation which will be recovered from your salary foster dues, payable to you (sic),” the Civil Aviation ministry said in a letter.
Some of the employees in Mumbai’s Air India Colony shared their distress.
“We have given our all to the company and have risked our lives working during the Covid pandemic. We are doing our very best for the country and company and are yet being treated as outsiders,” an AI employee, who did not wish to be named, said.
Another employee, who also had his salary deducted, said, “We are ready to vacate our accommodations but are worried about the academic session of our children, which will end in March 2023. We have decided to vacate the colony once the academic session of our children gets over. I have requested the company to let us stay still then.”
The Air India employees insisted that while the government divested Air India to the Tatas, the colony was not part of the deal.
The employees in Mumbai are facing heftier pay cuts than Delhi owing to the higher establishment and living costs in the country’s financial capital.