Facing all round criticism for the persisting crisis in Air India, Government today announced a slew of measures including bringing parity in pay scales of Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines staff and a uniform working hours' policy while scrapping productivity-linked incentive.
The decisions were based on the recommendations of the Justice D M Dharmadhikari Committee which went into the HR integration issues of the two carriers which were merged in 2007.
The salient features in the report including level mapping of employees, unified pay scales and common seniority, were outlined by Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh at a press conference in New Delhi.
The Indian Pilots Guild, which is spearheading the 26-day-old pilots' strike, rejected the report, saying it was biased in favour of the erstwhile Indian Airlines employees.
Maintaining that integration of employees was absolutely necessary for Air India to survive and merger to succeed, Mr Singh said, "The government is giving Rs 30,000 crore to the airline. One thing is clear. Government will not give any more public money to Air India."
The minister stuck to his earlier position on the pilots' agitation, saying their demands relating to career progression could be considered only after they returned to work.
Announcing a roadmap for starting implementing the recommendations, he said the carrier would save Rs 250 crore in the wage bill in the first year.
The government has been criticised by parliamentary panels and the Comptroller and Auditor General for not resolving the HR integration issues since the two airlines were merged in 2007.
While there would be parity in pay scales and uniform working conditions for staffers as per the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) norms, the pay and allowances for pilots, engineers, cabin crew and technicians would be determined on the basis of industry practices.
"Since these issues are not dealt with by DPE guidelines, the Union Cabinet's approval is required," Ajit Singh said.