Air India Pilots Union has petitioned the labour department for conciliation proceedings with the Airline’s management to alter their working conditions.
Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) & Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), the Pilots’ Union for Air India, has written to the airline to raise awareness of the pilot shortage and the difficulties pilots are encountering, including extended work hours, salary cuts, and a deteriorating work-life balance.
The airline, which is now owned by the Tata group, was informed by IPG-ICPA that pilots have flown more than 90 hours per month on all fleets, above the industry standard of 70 hours per month. Pilot weariness, which has occurred before in the history of commercial aviation, raises concerns about the safety of the passengers.
The Air India Pilots Union made note of their displeasure at not receiving the pre-COVID pay structure as the airline hires foreign pilots for its 777 fleets at a CTC that is 80% higher than that of current long-serving pilots. Indian pilots are allegedly the target of “discrimination,” according to the IPG-ICPA union.
The group has warned that, in addition to problems with service conditions, the airline’s ambitions to engage captains for its A320 fleet under fixed-term contracts may put the current Air India pilots in an unusual predicament.
A letter was submitted earlier this week to the Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC), Deputy CLC, and Assistant Labour Commissioner in New Delhi by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), which claims to represent about 900 pilots who operate Air India’s narrow-body aircraft.
The grouping requested in the letter that the management of the airline begin conciliation proceedings to resolve a number of issues. Air India didn’t respond right away with a response.
The Air India management is reportedly considering making some modifications to the service conditions for its pilots, and the ICPA has urged that its members be contacted before any changes are made.
“The Indian Commercial Pilots Association requests you to take urgent note of the escalating situation, and immediately and without any further delay, restrain the management of Air India Ltd from changing the conditions of service of its pilots… especially since the management continues to remain unresponsive to the pleas of its pilots.”–the letter stated.
According to ICPA, Section 9-A of the Industrial Dispute Act (read with the Fourth Schedule of the ID Act) requires that an employer give reasonable notice (as prescribed) before making any changes to a worker’s terms of employment, such as their salary, allowances, concessions, or privileges.
“In this regard, we, ICPA, had sent two letters/demand notices to Air India Ltd, on 24.10.2022 and 21.12.2022, respectively, requesting the Air India management to inter alia involve us, as representative of the pilots, in deliberations regarding any change in conditions of service before any precipitative steps are taken.”–the letter stated.
Campbell Wilson, the Managing Director and CEO of Air India, SD Tripathi, the Chief of Human Resources, and RS Sandhu, the Chief Operating Officer are among those who have received copies of the letter from ICPA. The union has asked for the start of conciliation proceedings with the airline’s management in the letter to resolve a number of issues.