The cabin crew of Air India has told the management that the compulsory leave scheme is a smokescreen for retrenchment by the backdoor and has demanded that it be kept in abeyance.
The All India Cabin Crew Association in a letter to Air India management said that AICCA records its strong protest at this circular and fears that this compulsory leave scheme is a smokescreen for a retrenchment/layoff scheme by the back door and is in gross violation of various Supreme Court orders, including the Constitutional bench judgment on Section 25, and infringes on the Air India SC case on hand.
"We note with great concern that the said circular purports to send employees on Compulsory Leave without Pay, by the CMD, as recommended by the RD & regional officials. This is highly arbitrary & subjective and is a violation of the Certified Standing Orders (Amended) of erstwhile Air India, as applicable to us," the cabin crew members said.
"Respectfully, we must also note that the circular & the board resolution itself are illegal as they violate the CSO, 9A of the ID Act and most importantly infringe on a matter that is being heard by the Hon Supreme Court of India, where we are a party. The larger bench of the Apex court is hearing the matter of Service Conditions, Standing Orders & 9A, and this circular violates that and brings in alien concepts of redundancies, merely to skirt existing retrenchment laws," the letter said.
"We find it shocking that our Airline seeks to arbitrarily retrench the very Corona Warriors who have been flying Vande Bharat Missions, at great risk to themselves and many have contracted COVID," the association said and has asked Air India CMD to keep the said circular in abeyance and engage in constructive dialogue with the AICCA on this subject.
Pilot unions allege 60%pay cut
Pilot unions too, have alleged that the airline's management under the guidance of the Centre plans to institute a 60% pay cut on a retrospective basis.
Accordingly, the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association and the Indian Pilots' Guild have jointly alleged that plans are afoot to cut almost 60% of gross emoluments owed to pilots.
In a letter written to the airline's CMD Rajiv Bansal, which was reviewed by IANS, the two unions said: "The proposed cut for pilots is almost 60 per cent of gross emoluments. It is hilarious to note that the top management has proposed a meagre 3.5 per cent cut on its own gross salary."
"... The 'Director Personnel' takes a minuscule cut of 4 per cent on gross pay while a Co-pilot who is paid less than the market is given a cut of 60 per cent. How is this justified? Doesn't this mount to unchecked greed and selfishness?"
The letters dated July 16, refers to a series of meetings held with the airlines management and ministry officials.
Both the unions said that they have expressed willingness to negotiate a pay cut in line with the current market conditions.
However, "We were told by the Ministry officials that we are being compared to one of the leading low cost private carriers, it was then explained to the MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) officials how the worst conditions of these private airlines were being cherry picked to our disadvantage."
According to the letter, the unions said: "You (Bansal) had briefed us that the MoCA has given you directions to slash pilots' salary by 60 per cent. This is nowhere at par with market standards."
"If this is true, then we would like to humbly submit that we would like to seek an appointment with the Hon'ble Minister of Civil Aviation and return all the appreciation letters given to our pilots by him as well as the Hon'ble Prime Minister for our service to the nation. Nevertheless, we will continue to serve the nation in this time of need, as always."
Besides, both the unions said that pilots have not been paid 70% of their pay since the month of April 2020.
"To discuss a retrospective pay cut on the work done is unfair and humiliating to an employee who has been loyal to the company and the nation. We demand that the management honour our existing agreements till such time a mutually agreed settlement is reached," the letter dated July 16 said.
"We would like to remind you that nobody is above the law and we hope Air India and the Secretary, Civil Aviation, will respect the law of the land."