Air India (AI) has decided to clear the long pending salary arrears of employees in line with the “employee first” approach taken by the new chairman and managing director (CMD) Ashwani Lohani.
The arrears have accumulated as a result of the 25% salary cut implemented by AI over the last three years. The issue of pay cut had split the airline wide open with frequent threats of industrial action by employees unless the cut was restored.
“The amount due would be released in fair instalments as soon as the financial position permits,” Lohani said in a November 15 letter to employees. This is the first time that an assurance from the top has been made to AI employees on releasing the salary arrears.
“I would like to assure you that the management is absolutely clear that this pending amount belongs to the employees and should therefore be released back,” Lohani said.
The national carrier is hoping to post its first operating profit in 2014-15 since the merger of AI and erstwhile Indian Airlines in 2007, HT reported on October 23. The airline also plans to add around 30 planes to its fleet in the next two years.
Lohani said AI was on the “path to recovery” though many problems continue to remain. “Our on-time performance (OTP) has improved and so has the availability of planes. We have also made a modest beginning by announcing new flights. Cross 90%, both for OTP as well as passenger load factor should be our motto,” he said.