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Aggrieved Biman staff move court to get back jobs PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 February 2008

UNB, Dhaka

Hundreds of employees of the national airlines who were allegedly forced to retire under the voluntary retirement scheme last year are preparing to file writ petitions with the High Court against the authorities of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd. A number of the employees told the news agency that they decided to file writ as the Biman management forced them to go on retirement under VRS last June.

Before the issuance of VRS last year, around 200 employees were either forced to retire or terminated. Most of them were learnt to be contemplating filing writ petitions with the High Court to get back their jobs. The High Court issued show-cause notices on the Biman managing director to explain why they were ‘terminated or forced to retire’.

The Biman authorities planned last year to cut 1,593 jobs in eight departments to squeeze its manpower to 3,400 from about 5,000. Accordingly, the authorities had invited applications from its employees willing to go on retirement under VRS on June 4 last year under the trimming plan. The eight departments are Customer Service, Engineering, Project and Planing, Administration, Finance, Store and purchase, Flight Operation, and marketing and sales. Till June 20 last year, 2,267 employees had submitted their applications. But, most of the employees alleged that they were made to sign printed VRS forms of retirement. As the number of applicants exceeded the number of planned job cuts, the government formed a committee, headed by the Biman managing director, to shortlist the applications.

The committee finalised a list of 1,877 employees of different Biman departments for voluntary retirement-euphemistically called golden handshake. A flight stewardess, requesting anonymity, said when she went to the office on June 20, she came to know that a list of 119 names of flight service department was hung on the notice board. She was allegedly told that she must sign VRS form or else lose her job without any benefit.

‘Like me, all of my colleagues, whose names were on the list, submitted VRS forms,’ she said. Another employee of the Customer Service Department said he was told that if he did not sign VRS form, he would lose his job and lose his service benefit too.

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