Air India crew say sorry after being shown the door

Apology comes from staff who were dismissed for reporting late.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Dehi | Published: March 14, 2014 2:28:20 am

Air India’s crew members, who were sacked for reporting late to work, have sent written apology to the management, requesting them to reconsider their sacking. 

The apology from 13 of the 17 employees, comes at a time when the Air India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) is negotiating with the management to withdraw the sacking orders.

A senior Air India official said, “They have given us written apologies and said that they were misguided by the unions. They have also assured us that they will follow all rules made by the airline management in the future.”

He added that four of the employees, who have not given any apology, are not full-time but contract employees.

In a first, Air India, in the beginning of this month had dismissed 17 cabin crew members this week for reporting late to work and delaying flights.

The sacking orders preceded a notice on February 20 warning cabin crew that if they don’t reach airports on time to operate flights, penal action would be taken against them.

However, there have still been instances of employees disobeying the notice.

The employees were also resisting efforts by the management to implement the flight duty time limitations (FDTL) notified by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), but have been facing stiff resistance from certain sections of employees who are refusing to work longer hours.

The unions are citing bilateral agreements with the management to block implementation of notified norms.

According to FDTL norms stipulated by DGCA, pilots and cabin crew are required to work 35 hours a week or 125 hours a month, subject to an upper limit of 1,000 hours a year.

However, the average working hours of cabin crew belonging to the erstwhile AICCA stand at 57 hours a month, while cabin crew of erstwhile Indian Airlines’ Air Corporation Employees Union work 68 hours a month. According to the cabin crew belonging to AICCA, they would not work beyond 80 hours a month. They are also demanding a rest period of 72 hours after a long-haul flight compared with the 48 hours mandated under DGCA.

According to a PTI report, Air India has “unconditionally” taken back 13 of the 17 cabin crew members.

The report, quoting unnamed sources, says a decision to revoke their termination was taken after the Shiv Sena-backed breakaway faction of the AICCA held a meeting with Air India’s CMD Rohit Nandan in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon.

“The management has taken back unconditionally all the 13 permanent in-flight staff, including a purser, whose services were terminated for gross indiscipline, due to pressure from the Shiv Sena-affiliated faction of the association,” the sources told PTI.

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