Hundreds of Air India Express employees could go on strike as early as January 15, 2022, due to issues about contract issuance. The low-cost subsidiary of soon-to-be-privatised Air India operates to several important Middle Eastern destinations, and a strike may significantly impact flight operations. The announcement comes as the carrier nears completion of its acquisition by the Tatas and a prospective merger with AirAsia India.
The cabin crew of Air India Express has threatened to go on an indefinite strike on January 15 unless the management responds to their demands satisfactorily. Employees believe that the existing process of providing contracts to separate groups of employees is unjust and that it puts certain cabin staff members out of work.
Cabin crew contracts have been shortened from five years to one year. Other employees and fresh recruits, on the other hand, have five-year contracts. To fix the matter, Air India Express Employees Union (AIXEU) is said to have met with management more than nine times in the presence of the central labour commissioner, but we received no favourable response.
The AIXEU represents about 500 cabin crew personnel, and any strike would significantly impact aircraft operations.
CEO of Air India Express received the warning
The CEO of Air India Express has received the warning, according to a report by the Times of India. Employees are hoping for a positive response from the management; otherwise, a strike appears in the cards.
Employees of the carrier have been protesting for some time, citing management’s unfair labour practices. The AIXEU crew organised a national-level protest on December 14, 2021, voicing their voice against claimed ‘gross injustice’ by the airline’s management.
Aside from the contract issue, the employees want COVID-imposed salary cutbacks reversed and a ground-staff job offer for one of the injured employees in a wheelchair. According to the AIXEU president, the labour commission ruled that the injured cabin crew member be offered a ground-staff position, but the management instead terminated his contract.
The AI Express employee protest occurs when the airline is about to change ownership. The handover of the carrier to the Tatas Sons’ Talace has been somewhat delayed due to regulatory permissions, but it is still on track.