Unpaid arrears charges fly thick at AI

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Jan 14 | Updated: Jan 15 2008, 06:19am hrs
Human resource integration still remains a Herculean task for national carrier Air India, which has recently merged with Indian Airlines. This time, it's the technical staff of Indian Airlines complaining about their arrears not been cleared since 1997. The senior staff in the category whines that the arrears of staff who have been with the airlines for over 30 years should have been given preference while settling the dues.

Says an official from Indian Airlines, "The arrears of the technical staff in Air India have been cleared by the management. Each staff in this category including engineers, technicians and pilots has been given nearly Rs 8-9 lakhs towards arrears and other incentives." He adds that even the non-technical staff in Indian Airlines, including the administrative staff, air hostesses and other ground staff, have been given their dues since the year 2000.

The staff strength of Indian Airlines is over 1,600 employees, of which, nearly 4,000 are in the technical category. "We have had many meetings with the management, who went back on their promise of settling all their liabilities immediately, once both the entities merge," said the official.

V Thulasidas, CMD, Air India says, "We are sorting out the HR issues in both the entities which are now merged. The dues of the employees will be paid. We cannot pay the arrears in one installment. It is being done in phases." He adds that there is no discrimination meted out while settling the dues.

Meanwhile, Air India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) has recently filed a petition in the Delhi high court alleging that Air India owed more than Rs 350 crore as arrears towards wages and other incentives, while Indian Airlines owed more than Rs 1,100 crore to the employees. The final hearing on this matter will be on March 25.

The official also added that time and again, the civil aviation ministry had also assured the Indian Airlines staff that they will be at par with the Air India officials when the arrears are being settled, but nothing has really happened. "This is a case of discrimination," he complained.