Air India pilots serve legal notice over omission from workmen category

The airline has asked the pilot union to maintain peace and harmony

New Delhi: One of Air India's pilots unions has served a notice on the carrier demanding immediate recall of a notification that has removed commanders from the workmen category, prompting its management to request it to maintain "peace and harmony" in the interest of the organisation.

Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), in a legal notice sent to Air India Executive Director for Personnel and Industrial Relation Deepa Mahajan on September 1, has warned of dragging it to court and resorting to industrial action if the notification was not taken back.

"You are called upon to forthwith recall this purported notification and to clear the unnecessary confusion that the circulation of this notification has created. "That failing, my client shall be left with no alternative but to take legal action against you as signatory of the notification and initiate industrial action against the company, the cost and consequences of which shall be to your peril," ICPA lawyer Sanjoy Ghose said in the notice.

The notice comes in the backdrop of a controversial notification issued by Mahajan on August 20, citing a clarification by the ministry of labour and employment, saying the role of the 'pilot in command' at Air India is of a managerial and administrative nature and so may not fall under the definition of workmen.

ICPA, which has a strength of 670 members belonging to erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots, in a separate communication to Air India director for operations had alleged that "its members were under immense stress due to the management's habitual way of breaking the law and total mismanagement," in an obvious reference to the notification.

"The frequent changes in programmed flights and pull outs at short notice due to the acute shortage of pilots are adding to the already increased stress levels leading to severe fatigue conditions endangering flight safety," it had said.

However, Air India says that the decision to remove commanders from workmen category was taken by the labour ministry and not by the airline management. "You have mentioned in your communication that Air India management has taken the law into their hands by issuing the said notification. This is not at all correct as the clarification has been given by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and has been conveyed by Air India management to all concerned," Mahajan had said in a letter to ICPA General Secretary T Parveen Keerthi on September 1. "You are requested to maintain peace and harmony in the interest of organisation as a whole," Mahajan said.

( Source : PTI )
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