NEW DELHI: With employees found responsible for up to 15 per cent of Air India's flight delays, the airline has been directed by the government to penalise them by cutting salaries in a bid to fix accountability.
The state-owned airline, meanwhile, said that it is likely to implement "restructured" pay scales for its staff from next month with a majority of its employees' unions having come on board on the proposal. It has around 20,000 employees.
Air India sources said today that the decision to crack the whip by cutting salaries of the employees responsible for flight delays was taken after 10-15 per cent of the delays were found to be on account of flight and cabin crew and catering and ground-handling issues.
"Under the Turnaround plan, at least 85 per cent of our flights should be on time. But the trend was worrisome.
The civil aviation secretary during a recent visit found that 10-15 per cent delays were occurring on account of crew and ground handling issues. So, the decision to cut salaries of such employees is to bring a discipline and make them accountable," they said.
Air India had cancelled 763 flights and delayed 6,513 flights in the period between June and November last year.
The sources said the consent of four unions have been taken on restructured pay scales.
"We have taken the consent of four unions, which represent some 17,000 employees of the total 21,959 staffers.
We are negotiating with other unions as well, and hope they will also be onboard soon. We expect the new restructured pay regime to be in place by March," the sources said.
Besides the officers and engineers unions, the two employees' unions-Air Corporation Employees Union and Aviation Industry Employees Guild- have also given their consent, they said adding that the management has held 2-3 rounds of negotiations with the pilots unions on the issue.
"We have also uploaded the proposed salary structure of the 1000-odd technicians and expect their response by next week, whereas the same for the cabin crew needs to be finalised internally," they said.
The salaries of the Air India employees are being restructured in line with the guidelines of Department of Public Enterprises, they said, adding the "harmonised" wages will be on an average 13 per cent lower than the existing wages.
"But we have ensured that the basic pay and allowances of the employees are protected," they said.
Air India's wage bill, last fiscal, stood at Rs 3,100 crore.