Mumbai: Pilot bodies at Tata Group-owned Air India have asked their members not to accept or sign revised terms and conditions days after the management came out with a revamped compensation structure for its flight and cockpit crew, as per a joint communication of the two unions. According to union sources, Air India has unilaterally changed the condition without consulting the pilots and alleged that they are trying to make all senior pilots executive and thus kill the unions.
Under the new structure, salaries have been hiked for more than 2,700 pilots across Air India and AIX Connect (including Air Asia India and Air India Express) as well as over 5,600 Air India’s cabin crew, as per an April 17 internal circular. Moreover, following the revision, the guaranteed flying allowance component has been doubled from the current 20 hours to 40 hours.
However, it remained much lower compared to the pre-pandemic period when Air India pilots were entitled to a guaranteed 70 hours of flying. The two unions — Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) and Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), according to the communication on Wednesday, held a joint meeting on April 18 to discuss the issue.
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“The members expressed their views and anguish on the unfair terms and conditions that are being imposed on the members. The IPG and ICPA committees are in the process of finalising the further course of action, taking into account the member’s suggestions,” the two unions informed their members in a joint communication on Wednesday. “In the meantime, we would like to reiterate to all members not to accept/ sign the revised terms and conditions,” it said.
A query sent to Air India did not elicit any response. “Air India has unilaterally changed the condition without consulting the pilots. They are also trying to make all senior pilots as executives and thus kill the unions,” a source told PTI. As per the circular, a large number of senior pilots, who have flown for four or more years as commanders, will be promoted to the senior commander rank, giving them instant inclusion into the management cadre with extra allowance for executive duties. It may be noted here that the management or executive pilots can’t join a union.
New compensation structure aimed at boosting emoluments, encouraging productivity
As pilots oppose the new pay structure, Air India said that the new compensation structure for pilots and cabin crew is an endeavour to bring parity among different groups, encourage productivity and that the managerial and supervisory role played by the experienced pilots is also being recognised. Air India spokesperson said that contracts reflecting the enhancements were individually sent and a large number of pilots and cabin crew have already accepted the new contracts.
“The new compensation structure for pilots and cabin crew is our endeavour to bring in parity among different groups, encourage productivity and boost emoluments drawn by them. The managerial and supervisory role played by the experienced pilots is also being recognised in the form of designating them as Senior Commander as also offering them a special monthly allowance,” the spokesperson said.
“The contracts reflecting these enhancements were individually sent to the pilots and cabin crew for necessary paperwork. A large number of pilots and cabin crew have already accepted the new contracts, and the salary improvements and advancement opportunities they enable,” the spokesperson added. The spokesperson also said that the airline will continue to engage with the remainder of its staff “through this process as currently there is no recognised union in Air India”.
Air India new salary structure
Air India on Monday announced a new salary structure for pilots and cabin crew. The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association and Indian Pilot’s Guild have opposed the ‘Revised Terms of Employment and Compensation Details’.
They said the management’s letter seeks “to supersede” all offer and appointment letters and understandings whether written or oral and that a “carte blanche” is being asked “to run roughshod over all the terms and conditions of our employment”.
In a letter, they also said that blanket consent is being sought for any leave or insurance policy that the company may come up with and “which is subject to amendment or outright withdrawal”.
The pilots’ union also warned that any “coercive steps or victimisation” by the company to sign the revised terms “will lead to industrial unrest”.
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(With agencies input)
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