For the first time in the company's 50-year history, Air India (AI) employees would now be required to work six days a week instead of the five-day work week they have had.
Even three years after they merged into one company — NACIL (National Aviation Company of India Ltd) — in August 2007, former AI employees continued with their five-day schedule while their colleagues from Indian Airlines (IA) were required to attend office six days.
HT had first highlighted this in April.
This had been a long-standing demand of the erstwhile IA employees, who had argued that without unified working hours, the integration wouldn't be complete.
"This was a cause of much resentment," a NACIL official said on condition of anonymity.
"Even three years after the merger, we remained divided on the roster. This step would not only help in better utilisation of manpower but also bring to an end the step-motherly treatment meted out to erstwhile IA employees."
To begin, the order will cover ex-AI employees based in Delhi.
However, considering its past record, it won't be easy for the new order to be implemented.
"A majority of erstwhile AI employees are not complying with the order and continue to stick to their five-day week schedule," a former IA employees wrote to the management last week.
"Such open defiance... would act as an impediment to the merger."
But NACIL is optimistic.
"New work norms have been put in place to harmonise working hours and shift patterns," a spokesperson said.