Air India extends pilots’ deadline to accept revised work structure till Friday

Air India on Tuesday extended its deadline for its pilots to accept their revised compensation structure and working conditions, days after the pilots refused to sign the new contract.

The Air India’s decision came days after the pilots refused to sign the airline’s new contract. (Representative Image)

“The airline in an email on Tuesday morning informed its pilots that it has extended the deadline for signing in the revised contracts till May 12,” an official in the know of the matter told HT.

A response from Air India spokesperson was awaited.

The airline had earlier asked its pilots to sign the new contracts by April 30. However, over 1,500 of its pilots that belong to both its pilot unions (Indian Commercial Pilots Association and Indian Pilots Guild) had signed a petition against the revised norms.

The two pilot bodies also wrote to Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran and sought his intervention alleging that the HR policy of Air India was a “draconian approach” and “driven by a lack of trust”.

The pilots had also warned the airline management of going to ‘any extent’ if any of their members is fired for not signing the new service agreement, plunging the company’s new owner Tata Sons’ attempt to what it has described as a “transformation plan” into major doubt.

This was after the airline, on April 17, announced details of a new remuneration system and began rolling out offer letters, unveiling pay grades and new service conditions that the pilots’ unions called “exploitative”.

The pilots said that they were protesting against the management as it did not consult them before coming up with the alleged harsh working terms.

“The management had, last week, asked the pilots to take a leap of faith. The email received by them today seems to be a result of the same,” said a second official close to the matter.

The pilots said that the protest is a result of unethical behaviour of the management towards the pilots who are the backbone of the airline.

“We feel that we are not being treated with the respect and dignity that we deserve as employees of Air India. As a result, our morale is low, and we are concerned that this will have a negative impact on our ability to perform our duties to the best of our abilities,” their petition has stated.

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