Air India staring at fresh bout of unrest | india | Hindustan Times
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Air India staring at fresh bout of unrest

Air India workers and management could be headed for a fresh face-off if the recommendations of a top government panel that allowances and perks be held back until the airline turns profitable are accepted, Tushar Srivastava writes.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2012 02:05 IST

Air India workers and management could be headed for a fresh face-off if the recommendations of a top government panel that allowances and perks be held back until the airline turns profitable are accepted.

"AI can ill-afford these costs at this juncture. The management should take steps to right-size the organisation, freeze recruitment and even consider VRS in non-core areas," an officers' panel has said in a report to the government.

Pilot unions warned of grave consequences if the recommendations were accepted. "Allowances account for 70% of a pilot's remuneration. Any move to slash these would have serious repercussions," said one member of a union.

The panel has even recommended that entitlement to allowances should "cease until profits are generated" and has listed this as one of the milestones for the government releasing fresh funds to AI. "AI must initiate and implement within a timeline a thorough review of the various allowances and perks being given for below average performance," it said.

The panel was appointed by a group of ministers to examine and vet AI's turnaround plan. Its recommendations will form the blueprint for future equity infusion into AI.

The aviation ministry has said emoluments drawn by AI employees are "much (in) excess of average emoluments in the market".

Just last week, AI hit turbulence with a pilots' stir over unpaid dues that grounded 70 flights.