Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Air India Express dismisses 30 crew members who went on mass sick leave

Air India Express dismisses 30 crew members who went on massAir India Express dismisses 30 crew members who went on mass

Air India Express: In an email addressed to the concerned crew members, the airline stated that the actions of the crew indicated a deliberate and coordinated decision to refrain from work without any apparent justification.

In short

  • The airline claims that the absence from work was premeditated.
  • The sick leave taken allegedly breached both laws and service regulations.
  • As a result, 74 flights scheduled for Thursday have been canceled.

Tata Group-owned Air India Express has swiftly “terminated the services” of 30 cabin crew members who took mass sick leave without prior notice. This abrupt action led to the cancellation of over 100 flights since Tuesday night, affecting approximately 15,000 passengers. As a consequence of this crisis, at least 74 flights scheduled for Thursday have been canceled. Sources informed India Today TV that the termination notices were issued to the 30 crew members on Wednesday night.

According to sources, Regional Labour Commissioner Ashok Perumalla has convened a meeting today in Delhi at 2 pm, bringing together the airline management and the protesting crew members.

In the termination notice sent via email to the affected employees, the airline asserted that the actions of the crew indicated a deliberate and coordinated decision to abstain from work without any justifiable reason.

The notice emphasized that the mass sick leave not only contravened applicable laws but also violated the Air India Express Limited Employees’ Service Rules that are binding upon them.

Furthermore, it stated that the crew members were scheduled for a flight on Tuesday but notified the Scheduling team at the last moment of their illness and subsequently reported sick.

The notice highlighted that during the same period, a significant number of other cabin crew members also reported sick and failed to report for duty. This indicates a planned and coordinated absence from work without any valid reason.

The airline stated that as a consequence, a significant number of flights had to be canceled, resulting in the disruption of the entire schedule and causing immense inconvenience to their valued passengers.

The notice asserted that the actions of the cabin crew amounted to a coordinated effort with a mutual understanding to refrain from operating flights and disrupt the company’s services.

The airline notified the cabin crew members that they would no longer be regarded as employees when it terminated their services. Consequently, they would lose access to official emails, servers, and other communication channels, and neither they nor their dependents would be eligible for any employee-related benefits provided by the company.

Following Air India Express CEO Aloke Singh’s announcement, an emailed statement was issued stating that the airline would be reducing flight services until May 13 due to the cabin crew crisis.

Singh explained, “The disruptions have affected our entire network, compelling us to adjust schedules for the upcoming days… We made this decision to manage the shortage of crew and to restore operations.”

Additionally, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has requested a comprehensive report from the airline regarding flight delays and cancellations. It urged Air India Express to promptly take necessary measures to resolve the crisis.

In an email statement dated May 3, Regional Labour Commissioner Ashok Perumalla strongly criticized Air India Express for mismanagement and affirmed the validity of the union’s concerns.

Perumalla stated that the airline’s management had failed to send any authoritative representatives to the conciliation proceedings, highlighting evident mismanagement and blatant disregard for labor laws.

The HR department’s attempt to mislead the conciliation officer by providing false information and interpreting legal laws incorrectly was also condemned by him. Perumalla also recommended the formation of a high-level committee to address the grievances of the employees.

Tuesday night through Wednesday saw several flight cancellations, which caused mayhem at various airports as passengers were irate at the lack of advance notice.

At least 16 Air India Express flights were canceled in Delhi on Wednesday, with similar disruptions reported in Bengaluru. Multiple flights from all four airports in Kerala—Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kannur, and Kozhikode—were also canceled by the airline.

On Wednesday evening, the airline announced that it would arrange alternative flights for affected passengers. Additionally, it released a revised flight schedule and advised travelers to check for disruptions affecting their flights before heading to the airport.

The recent events unfold against a backdrop of persisting discontent among cabin crew members at the low-cost carrier, particularly exacerbated by the commencement of the merger process between AIX Connect (previously known as AirAsia India) and Air India Express.

In December 2023, the Union Labour Ministry served the airline with a show-cause notice, citing alleged breaches of regulations concerning disputes between the airline’s management and its cabin crew members.

Also Read: Sam Pitroda

This notice was prompted by concerns raised by cabin crew members, which included grievances related to the arrangements for room sharing during layovers.

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