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After crash, AI gags employees

Criticised about its way of functioning, Air India has done what it is best known to do when faced with a crisis — gag its employees.AI engineers cry foul against employer

delhi Updated: May 25, 2010 02:17 IST
Tushar Srivastava

Criticised about its way of functioning, Air India has done what it is best known to do when faced with a crisis — gag its employees.

In an internal notification issued on Monday — a copy of which is with HT — employees have been warned of action if they air their views to the media. Such statements, the AI order says, could harm the "company's image" and "revenue earning prospects".

The order comes a day after YV Raju, general secretary of AI's All-India Aircraft Engineers Association, told HT the national carrier, just hours after the Mangalore crash, broke all safety norms by getting an unqualified engineer to certify its Airbus aircraft.

AI employees told HT on condition of anonymity this was an attempt by the company to restrict their "right to speech".

"At a time when the company should be focussing on Mangalore, it is trying to stifle our voice. This won't work. There are registered trade unions in AI, recognised by the company itself," an AI official said.

The notification states that instances have come to notice that contrary to previous orders, "certain employees... are freely airing their views in the media despite channels of communication existing within the company to voice their grievances".