Air India pilots are up in arms after the national airline ‘unilaterally’ declared ‘leave without pay’

BCCL
  • Air India pilot association tells the company that any unilateral change by Air India from agreed-upon wage settlement would be illegal and will not be in the interest of the national carrier.
  • The association said Air India in a press conference stated that its negotiation with the pilots— which it thinks is “far from reality.”
  • ICPA said it supports temporary austerity measures at all fronts, but claimed that under Section 9A of the ID Act, 1947, Air India is bound to serve a ‘notice of change’ to the unions.
  • This came after Air India approved leave without pay (LWP) scheme for employees ranging from six months or two years and extendable up to five years.
Air India pilot association in a letter tells chairman Rajiv Bansal that any unilateral change by Air India from agreed-upon wage settlement would be illegal and will not be in the interest of the national carrier at this crucial juncture.

In a letter to Bansal, the Indian Commercial Pilot Association (ICPA) warned that “Such a situation has the potential to flair to an unprecedented magnitude.”


The association said that in the press conference by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on July 16, Air India stated that its negotiation with the pilots— which it thinks is “far from reality.”
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“It was not a negotiation, but the diktat of MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) which was conveyed to us. We would also like to place on record that the so-called negotiation was ‘not harmonious’ in any aspect,” ICPA said.

The letter further added that the “Flying allowance and flying related allowances constitute 70% of our wages. These allowances remain unpaid since April 2020. Furthermore, all the wages are being paid with constant delays,” ICPA said.

ICPA said it supports temporary austerity measures at all fronts, but claimed that under Section 9A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, Air India is bound to serve a ‘notice of change’ to the unions.
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As per the Bombay High Court case held in January, “notice under Section 9A of the ID Act should be given by Air India Limited to the petitioner unions of the change in conditions of service in the prescribed format,” the union quoted in the letter.

The order of the Bombay HC was challenged before the apex court. The Supreme Court has not issued a stay in favour of Air India Limited. Essentially, this means Air India is bound to follow Section 9A of the ID Act, ICPA said.

This came after Air India approved leave without pay (LWP) scheme for employees ranging from six months or two years and extendable up to five years.
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The circular dated July 14 said the scheme authorises chairman Rajiv Bansal to issue a leave without pay letter to employees on behalf and in the name of the company. The decision will be based on employee suitability, efficiency, competence and health.

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