Air India today warned of “exemplary disciplinary action” against employees “sabotaging” the progress of the national carrier after some pilots did not report for duty in protest against non-payment of allowances and other issues, partially affecting its operations on Sunday.
Such acts, especially at this juncture when all are making efforts together to achieve a turnaround in the organisation and focusing on welfare of employees, are “just not acceptable” and shall not be tolerated under any circumstances, Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani said in a stern message.
Recently, there have been delays/cancellations of flights due to indiscipline by a small section of pilots. Such instances, besides loss of revenue, cause tremendous inconvenience to passengers and lower the image of the organisation, he said.
“Such attempts at sabotaging the progress of Air India and also instigating by mischievous elements shall not be tolerated under any circumstances and employees responsible for the same shall be liable for exemplary disciplinary action,” he said.
Domestic flight services of the government-owned airline were partially affected yesterday after a section of pilots, owing allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), decided not to report for duty in protest against pending issues related to salary and allowances, besides alleged denial of weekly-off.
On September 1, the ICPA had flagged continuing pay anomalies in a strongly-worded letter to Air India’s Director (Finance).
“Our patience has run thin. We will wait till September 7 for the anomalies in pay and allowances to be corrected and international layover allowance to be paid up to date failing which we will be forced to take any action as deemed fit to safeguard the interests of our members,” ICPA had said.
The pilots are also angry over the delay in payment of international crew layover allowance that they are entitled to when flying abroad.
Some pilots who fly narrow-body, mainly Airbus A320, aircraft did not turn up for duty on Sunday, affecting operations of around 10 to 12 flights.
After some ICPA pilots stopped taking duty calls about their respective flight schedules, Air India management was forced to deploy wide-body Boeing 777 and 787 pilots for operations on key trunk routes such as Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
ICPA represents around 750 pilots, majority of whom are from erstwhile Indian Airlines.