Struggling to resume normal flight operations following a 58-day strike by its international fleet pilots, the national carrier, Air India, could be heading towards another unrest by its cabin crew staff and engineers.
Seven employees’ unions comprising pilots, engineers and cabin crew staffs have hinted towards a work-to-rule protest if the management fails to address the alleged irregularities in the Dharmadhikari Committee report before it is implemented.
The report was submitted by a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge DM Dharmadhikari to integrate employees of Air India and Indian Airlines post the merger.
On July 26, the unions wrote to the airline’s chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan warning him about another industrial unrest unless the “anomalies” in the report were addressed soon.
According to the letter, the airline had set up an anomaly committee comprising senior human resource officials. However, last week it informed unions that the report would be implemented as it is and the difference would be dealt on a case-to-case basis.
“Despite a commitment from the civil aviation minister Ajit Singh, the airline is going ahead with the implementation without thrashing out the glitches on parity of pay and seniority,” said a union member requesting anonymity.
Normally, duty timings of cabin crew and pilots are extended by default during emergencies such as flight delays owing to technical snags or poor weather. But during a work-to-rule protest the crew walks off duty as soon as the shift time is over.
The airline is already losing revenue owing to the strike by its international fleet pilots that cut its daily international flight operations by half and led to suspension of operations to destinations such as Toronto and Osaka. An AI spokesperson did not respond to HT’s calls and a query sent over email.