Violation of comic proportion, says Air India Pilots Association
Around 50 Air India pilots have received termination letters and have sought the intervention of the management on the issue of “illegal termination” of pilots from service.
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), in a letter to Rajiv Bansal, Air India’s Chairman and Managing Director, said that around 50 pilots have received illegal termination letters from the Personnel Department in blatant violation of company’s operation manual and service rules.
“What’s happening? Around 50 of our pilots have been terminated overnight unceremoniously without proper procedure being followed. A rude shock for those who served the nation in this pandemic putting the nation first,” ICPA said in a tweet.
Air India CMD has been sent a letter by ICPA where it added that pilots who tendered their resignation letters as far back as July 2019 but withdrew them well within the mandatory six months notice period, have been relieved from service suddenly from 10 pm on Thursday.
Pilots allege that the crew were not informed of the acceptance of resignation and therefore by extension, the commencement of any notice period.
They pointed out that after termination of service from the close of office on August 13, a pilot was made to operate AI 804/506 on August 14. The pilots who flew these flights were not technically employees of Air India from the close of office on August 13.
“This is a violation of comic proportion not to mention grave flight safety hazard. What would have been the mental state of these pilots after knowing their services were terminated,” it said.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India had given an assurance that unlike other airlines, no employee of Air India would be laid off, said ICPA. “For the safety of the travelling public alone if not on humanitarian grounds these pilots should not have been made to operate flights under such traumatic circumstances. This vengeful exercise carried out by the Personnel Department to illegally terminate pilots compromises the safety of our flights,” ICPA added.
Meanwhile, Air India has extended the deadline for its controversial Leave Without Pay (LWP) scheme, which has been drawing strong protests from pilots and cabin crew.
In a circular issued on Thursday, Air India said that the scheme was introduced on July 14 and it “has now been decide to extend the last date of applying under the scheme till September 30, 2020”.
The scheme was circulated on July 14 and the pilots have been protesting that it “confers disproportionate powers” on the Chairman and Managing Director to pass an order requiring an employee to go on a compulsory leave without pay for a period of six months or for two years, and extendable up to five years.