At a time when a section of pilots in national carrier Air India have been agitating against being removed from the ‘workmen’ category which essentially prevents them from participating in strikes, newly appointed chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani, in his first message to employees has said that the organisation will always maintain a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards indiscipline.
In a letter dated September 11, 2015, Lohani has said that while Air India will take care of its ‘workforce’ and the management will take pro-active steps to ensure that staff grievances are resolved, “the organisation shall always maintain zero tolerance to indiscipline”.
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The message comes at a time when the 660-member Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) undertook a secret ballot to decide whether they would go on strike to protest against the management’s decision to remove pilots-in-command from the ‘workmen’ category.
Lohani, who took charge last week in his message to employees, also highlighted the need to enhance passenger service in the airline.
“This can be done through high standards of cleanliness of the aircraft cabin, improvements to the cabin, working IFE (inflight entertainment) system, audible announcements, courteous behaviour and above all a happy smile on the face of every employee of Air India,” Lohani has written in his letter. He elaborated that while maintaining highest standards of cleanliness and upkeep of all establishments, employees of Air India should remember that they are in the service industry and demonstrate an eagerness to serve customers from the heart with a smile as symbolised by the airline’s mascot ‘the Maharaja’.
He stressed the need to improve efficiency of the entire engineering set-up for reliable and timely availability of aircraft. This would help achieve the CMD’s objective of attaining over time 100 per cent on-time performance. Lohani in his letter has written, “It is absolutely paramount to ensure very high levels of OTP. While the target will always remain 100 per cent, at this initial stage, we should guarantee at least 90 per cent.” Interestingly, as per data available with the national carrier, the airline has been clocking 99 per cent OTP over the last six days.
In its bid to achieve the desired OTP; the CMD has asked all employees to ensure that that there is no compromise on safety related matters. An Air India spokesperson said, “With the continuous effort and team work at Air India, its India region On Time Performance has jumped significantly in the last six days to reach maximum at 99 per cent … Air India will continue to work towards it with same zeal.”
Lohani added, given the “grave crisis” the airline is going through, it is pertinent that at this critical juncture all employees maintain integrity, not “seek and serve petty personal interests” but work with total commitment so that the brand may “soar the skies” again.