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

Mumbai:¬†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.

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.

Air India Commercial Pilot Association on Friday sent a legal notice to its Chief Human Resources Officer with respect to the proposed revised terms and conditions of service of pilots.

The legal notice stated that the members of the association were astonished to receive emails addressed to them individually by the ‘Air India HR Team’ on April 16 and 17.

For the pilots with 4 years of seniority as Commanders in Air India, the email sensationally announced “Congratulations! You have been promoted as Senior Commander, which is an Executive Role”

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’ ¬†and urged their members not to accept them.

The pilots’ union also warned that any “coercive steps or victimisation” by the company to sign the revised terms “will lead to industrial unrest”.

After the announcement of revised terms and conditions, Air India recently stated 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.