Air India has “unconditionally” taken back 13 of the 17 cabin crew members it had sacked recently for indiscipline and defying flight duty time limitation, allegedly following pressure from a section of the employee unions, AI sources said on Thursday.
A decision to revoke their termination was taken after the Shiv Sena-backed breakaway faction of the All India Cabin Crew Association held a meeting with AI chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan, they said.
“The management has taken back unconditionally all the 13 permanent in-flight staff, including a purser, whose services were terminated for gross indiscipline, due to pressure from the Shiv Sena-affiliated faction of the association,” the sources said in Mumbai.
Air India officials were not available for comments.
Coming down heavily on its erring cabin crew, the loss -making national airline had sacked 16 air hostesses, four of them on contract, and a flight purser over a period of nine days in February-March for not following Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL) norms.
While sacking the staffers, the Government-run carrier had said “Air India had been asking them to follow FDTL rules for over six months but they failed to do so and this forced the management to take this extreme step.” FDTL norms are guidelines governing issues like maximum daily flight duty period, including flying hour limitations, rest period, staff-on-duty travel and number of landings allowed per pilot as well as the crew.
NCP-backed All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA), which claims to represent the 3,600 cabin crew members in the national carrier, had disapproved of the AI action.
The association, which till 2011 had the backing of Shiv Sena, suffered a split after its leader Kiran Pawaskar switched loyalty to Sharad Pawar’s NCP.
As against an industry average of 75 hours of monthly flying, AI cabin crew averages only 52 hours on international routes, while in domestic sector it is 55 hours.