A group of ground staff and engineers of Air India on Wednesday threatened to go on strike from November 2 after a government order asking them to vacate their staff quarters, the Business Standard reported.

A joint body of Air India employees’ unions said that the government has asked them to give an undertaking by October 15 that the staff will vacate their housing allotments within six months of the sale of the airline.

On October 8, Tata Sons won the bid to acquire debt-ridden national airline Air India for Rs 18,000 crore.

The government had said that Tata Sons will retain all Air India employees for a year. In light of this, the Air India Joint Action Forum of Unions asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation in a letter to let staff continue to live in their quarters for at least 12 months.

“The colony facility should at least be co-terminus with that [employment] date,” the letter said.

The unions added that the decision to ask employees to vacate homes while in service amounted to “unilateral change of service conditions and is a violation of labour law”. They said that displacement of employees who are nearing retirement will “virtually bring them on the streets as they will be unable to afford buying or renting other homes”.

The Air Joint Action Forum of Unions comprises Air Corporation Employees Union, Aviation Industry Employees Guild and All India Service Engineers Association.

The unions have also demanded that the government should clear the employees’ pending dues before asking them to leave the staff quarters. They demanded that the government encash the employees’ leave allotments or carry them forward when Tata Sons take over the airlines.