The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), which has so far been diplomatic when it comes to labour disputes, is now facing the threat of unrest by the contract workers numbering nearly 600.
Most of them are women doing house-keeping work at the airport. Out of the 600, around 50 have been served with termination notices effective Tuesday by the labour contractors.
Following this, the INTUC and the CITU jointly served a notice to the CIAL authorities stating that they will launch an agitation if the employees, who have been issued termination notices, are permanently removed from service.
V P George, INTUC state secretary, said that many of the working women are from the locality and have lost land and homes owing to the construction of the airport.
“The 600-odd employees are not being given either the wages or the privileges notified by the state Labour Department. It is not due to the wages that the women are drawn to CIAL employment, but the permanency of job,” said George.
A delegation, consisting of George and K C Kunjumon from the INTUC and V S Shylaja and K Abdulla from the CITU, had met the Chief Minister to submit a memorandum in this regard. George said that they have also obtained an assurance from the CM that his government will not recommend the termination of any employee from any service, and that the jobs of the 50 women would be protected. But according to CIAL human resource manager R Venkiteswaran, the 600-odd workers are not the direct employees of the airport. They have been appointed by the three CIAL-approved contractors. “These employees are outsourced, and as usual, the contractors have been issued a notice indicating the number of employees required this year in house-keeping,” said Venkiteswaran. He added that the number of employees was reduced as most cleaning jobs have been automated.
But even while asking for a reduction in the number of employees, it has been learnt that the HR department has instructed the contractors to omit the workers who have given land for the airport from the list of terminated employees.