Air India set to slash number of unions to 5

Aug 05 2014, 16:55 IST
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Under the proposal, Air India is set to have two unions - one each for pilots and other workers like cabin crew and ticketing staff. (AP) Under the proposal, Air India is set to have two unions - one each for pilots and other workers like cabin crew and ticketing staff. (AP)
SummaryBut first, Air India must solve other issues over merger with Indian Airlines.

The top management of India's flag carrier Air India has cleared a proposal to rationalize the number of employees' unions in the company to five, from 13 unions before the 2007 merger with erstwhile Indian Airlines, a senior Air India official told FE.

The move is expected to bring in efficiencies with respect to addressing human resource-related issues within the airline and facilitate quicker decision making.

Under the proposal, Air India is set to have two unions - one each for pilots and other workers like cabin crew and ticketing staff. Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), a subsidiary of Air India, will be allowed to have two unions and the airline's ground handling unit Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL) has been allocated a single union by the management, this official said on condition of anonymity.

“The proposal has been cleared by the management and the process to make these unions recognised by the company is on,” the official said.

However, several human resources-related issues that date back to the merger of the erstwhile Indian Airlines with Air India in 2007 need to be addressed before the creation of the new unions, the official added. He said that the company was holding discussions with employees on modalities of the proposal like the eligibility criteria for recognition of existing unions. Merging some entities to create a larger union, or establishing a new association is also a possibility.

At present, Air India has about 13 recognised and unrecognized unions which include employees’ unions of Air India’s wide-bodied aircraft operations (that mostly fly internationally) and the erstwhile Indian Airlines’ narrow-bodied aircraft operations (that flew domestically).

Before the merger of Indian Airlines with Air India in 2007, there were 7 recognized unions in Air India and about 6 in erstwhile Indian Airlines, said a member of the Air India Engineers Assosiation, on condition of anonymity.

“After the merger, the airline recognized only 5 unions while the rest were not recognized since many of these unions were splinter groups,”the official said.

A four-member committee constituted by the airline's board of directors in December 2013 to chalk out a plan for cutting down on the number of recognized unions in the airline had earlier submitted two set of recommendations.

One of the suggestions was to have three unions – one each for Air India, AIESL, and AIATSL. The second

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