Retrenched AI employees win compensation

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Nine former Air India staffs of its Singapore office have won SGD 25,667 shortfall in retrenchment compensation at the Industrial Arbitration Court (IAC) here.

The court said they were underpaid by the airline contrary to an original agreement, reports said today. The settlement came after former president of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), John De Payva, was called into the day-long hearing to clarify the dispute on the initial agreement involving payment of SGD110,000, The Straits Times reported.

The airline had agreed that the nine retrenched workers along with eight others could claim for the outstanding 60 days leave each.

The workers were retrenched two years ago by Air India as their services were outsourced. But the nine had rejected Air India's claim of a 2007 collective agreement with the union that outstanding leave be paid at half the due rates.

De Payva, who arrived at the hearing within 30 minutes of summoning, testified that there was no agreement to convert the workers' leave at half. Justice Chan Seng Onn accepted De Payva's testimony and ruled that the payment was SGD110,000 as per the retrenchment agreement.

Air India's country manager Madhulika Babal disappointedly said: "We are not happy with the whole thing, but we respect the decision."

The Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers' Union, a part of NTUC represented the nine workers. One them, Najeeba Beeva, said: "The trust in the union paid off."

The delighted Beeva called it a big relief in having the June 2010 dispute settled.

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