Air India pilot unions warn of going to 'any extent' if any member is terminated

Immediately after Air India circulated the revamped salary structure and service conditions, the two unions urged their members not to sign on the document

An Air India aircraft taking off
An Air India aircraft taking off


Indicating that they are ready for a showdown with the Tata Group-owned Air India management over its "unilateral" decision to revise the salary structure and service conditions, the two pilot unions at the airline warned the management of going to "any extent" to protect their members.

Meanwhile, a source said that chief human resources officer Suresh Dutt Tripathi on Monday allayed all apprehensions about the revamped compensation structure, saying that the contract is a "compilation of applicable policies and existing rules." On April 17, Air India rolled out a revamped compensation structure for its pilots and cabin crew, which has since been rejected by the two unions -- Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) and Indian Pilots Guild (IPG).

As part of the revised structure, though it increased the flying allowance component to 40 hours from 20 hours earlier, it failed to bring it back to 70 hours, which Air India pilots were entitled to prior to the Covid pandemic.

"It has been resolved by the IPG and ICPA that if any member/s of our union/s is/are terminated by the management for not signing the revised terms and conditions, the ICPA and IPG have pledged in unison to go to any extent to protect member/s till they are reinstated," a joint ICPA-IPG resolution stated.

Air India declined to comment on the issue.

Immediately after Air India circulated the revamped salary structure and service conditions, the two unions urged their members not to sign on the document, saying that the terms and conditions were being imposed on them.

Besides, the two unions also termed the airline management's move to promote senior pilots with over 4 years of experience to the management cadre as the one aimed at killing the unions at the airline.

According to an airline source, one of the concerns of the crew is regarding the medical assessment whereas "there is no change in this as, as an organisation the company reserves the right to ascertain their fitness for flying keeping in mind health of the individual and flight safety in line with DGCA".

Moreover, the source said, since different service rules existed at Air India and were not harmonised completely with the erstwhile merger, the attempt has been to bridge this gap and make common policies and rules for different sections of employees.

"So obviously, this contract will have to supersede the existing clauses so that the airline can introduce relevant policies from time-to-time," as per the source.

One of the concerns, among the several ones, is that the management has sought personal details of the crew including their mobile numbers on the excuse of sharing it with the regulatory authorities such as EPFO, and the unions allege that this may be misused by the management.

However, the source said that an "undertaking of this nature is important as the airline collects such details from them to only use it for any company-related activity, or to submit this data to any regulatory authorities."

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