AI shortchanges 38 trainee pilots, asks them to sign new contracts

  • Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 03, 2014 01:42 IST

A batch of 38 trainee pilots hired by Air India on regular employment in 2011 have been intimated by the company that they are on contract. The pilots have been asked to sign fresh contracts by the airline.

AI had recruited the trainee pilots from the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi in 2011. They were offered employment as First Officers in the company on completion of
their training.

Pilots said the move is not just against employment ethics but also against rules of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, according to which, a scheduled operator should have sufficient number of flights and cabin crew on its “regular employment.”

“We feel cheated,” said a pilot who did not wish to be named. “Had they informed us before commencing our training that the employment is on contract, we would have explored other options. When other airlines are offering permanent jobs why would we want to join on a short-term contractual basis?”

Following this, many of them have joined AI’s pilots’ union, the Indian Commercial
Pilots Association (ICPA), though their contract stipulates that they “will not participate, either directly or indirectly, in any form or manner whatsoever, in trade union activities,” sources said

“These pilots have been treated very unfairly by the company,” said an ICPA office bearer.

“They (pilots) were offered employment on contractual basis since the AI board had decided that all future recruitment of pilots will be on contract,” an AI spokesperson said. “There is no violation of DGCA rules since we understand that many of the other airlines are also employing pilots on contract.”

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