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TMC MP: AI's leave without pay scheme not voluntary, flags contradictions in official memo

New Delhi: A day after demanding reversal of Air India's leave without pay move, senior Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien on Monday sought to push the point further and claimed the scheme was "not voluntary" and that the airline's internal memo and press statement were "self-contradictory".

The Rajya Sabha member put up Air India's office memo of July 14 and press statement of July 17 on his Twitter handle and highlighted some parts of the documents that he claimed were "self-contradictory".

"As per this evidence, Leave Without Pay (LWP) is NOT voluntary. Exhibit #1-@airindiain memo #420 on LWP (leave without pay) Exhibit #2-AI Press Release (points 2, 8 & 9) Press Release July17, self-contradictory (sic)," he tweeted.

The central government has justified the national carrier's decision to send certain employees on leave without pay for up to five years, with Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri saying that equity infusion of Rs 500-600 crore every year was not sustainable and cost-cutting was necessary. Air India's decision came amid the Coronavirus pandemic which has significantly impacted the aviation sector due to travel restrictions imposed globally. In a letter to Union minister Puri on Sunday, O'Brien urged him to ensure that Air India withdraws its decision on leave without pay scheme.

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