DELHI- Tata-owned Air India Express (AIX) senior and experienced Cabin crew have expressed serious reservations about the management’s actions, citing violations of the company’s code of conduct guidelines.
They have accused the management of subjecting them to mental harassment and abruptly reducing their contracts.
Air India Express Crew Harassment
The cabin crew union has drafted a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, exclusively obtained by The New Indian, outlining their concerns. The letter highlights that the crew members were subjected to a scrutiny process labeled as an ‘assessment.’
Subsequently, their contracts were downsized from a duration of five years to one year, a move that employees claim is supported by referencing rules that, as per their assertion, “do not exist.”
Members of the AIX union have formally approached the Regional Labour Commissioner Office in Delhi, raising concerns about the management’s perceived indifference and alleged unethical practices.
The Labour Commissioner’s office has issued a notice to the AIX management, seeking an explanation in response to a complaint filed under sections 7(A) and 33(A) that the management is accused of violating.
According to the complaint, the management has compelled two cabin crew members to share a single room, contravening both the rules set by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and a policy established over 19 years ago.
The complainant contends that this arrangement compromises passenger safety, as the differing schedules of the crew members prevent them from accessing their rooms.
Consequently, the company is seen as jeopardizing passenger safety due to the crew members not being able to fulfill the mandated 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep stipulated by the DGCA.
When an employee, citing alleged mental harassment, decided to address the issue with the Chief Human Relations Manager, Anjali Chatterjee, the response received was dismissive.
Chatterjee reportedly remarked that the employees were replaceable, highlighting the ongoing recruitment of 150 new cabin crew members.
As outlined in the employees’ complaint, the contracts of four cabin crew members were not recommended for renewal. The letter suggests that this decision was made following an assessment program for contract renewal that did not adhere to all the parameters stipulated by the management.
Furthermore, the letter accuses Megha Singhania, a member of the assessment team, of engaging in harassment and torture. Singhania is alleged to have made derogatory comments about the complexion and accent of the crew members, questioning the ability of female crew members to fulfill their roles as mothers upon returning from maternity leave.
Letter to MOCA
The Air India Express cabin crew union has communicated to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, making the following allegations:
Restriction on Union Activities: Cabin crew members are allegedly prohibited from participating in any union-related activities, a measure perceived as an attempt to undermine the unity of the AI Express Employees Union, registered under BMS.
Non-Renewal of Contracts: The Human Resources department recently decided against renewing the contracts of four cabin crew members, with no provided reasons for this decision.
Contract Duration Shortened: Nine cabin crew members reportedly had their contracts reduced to a 1-year tenure, while others were granted a 3-year term. The company’s HR circular does not specify conditions for a one-year contract, and this change occurred during the assessment program without transparent disclosure of the rationale.
Incorrect Height Measurement: Allegations suggest that the height measurement process employs a non-calibrated machine, resulting in inaccurate recordings. This is purportedly done with the intention of manipulating the BMI range to justify contract discontinuation.
Corruption and Favouritism: The Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Air India is accused of engaging in corruption and favoritism. It is claimed that individuals with favorable relationships receive a full 5-year contract despite having received numerous warning letters against them.
Presently, the Air India Express (AIX) workforce consists of 2,500 employees, with 1,500 serving as cabin crew. With the recent acquisition of Air Asia by Air India Express, the combined total strength now stands at nearly 5,500 employees.
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