New Delhi: Senior Cabin crew members of Tata-owned Air India Express (AIX) have voiced concerns over alleged breach of code of conduct by the company and sought the Union Civil Aviation Ministry's intervention in the matter.
Senior staff claim that they are facing mental harassment and abrupt contract reductions, raising doubts about the airline's management practices.
“As per the latest employment letter issued by the management, cabin crew members are not permitted to take part of any trade union activities. This decision has been made to break the unity and stop Union work in the name of Air India Express Employees Union registered under BMS,” reads the letter sent by the AIX employees union to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The letter further claims that as per the recent decision taken by the HR team led by Anjali Chatterjee, contracts of four cabin crew members did not recommend for renewal without any reason of justification. The decision has been taken after conducting the assessment programme for contract renewal even after fulfilling all parameter's stipulated by management, the union claimed.
“Nine numbers of cabin crew contracts were curtailed from five years to one and other members of the cabin crew received three years tenure. There is no parameter stipulated in company HR circular to issue conditional contract for one year. This curtailment was done based on the assessment program without revealing the cause of action. There was no transparency in Communication maintained,” the union said.
It further alleged harassment and torture by the company's assessment team. “During assessment led by Megha Singhania, cabin crew were asked and commented about their complexion, language and accent, and questioned the performance ability of female crew because of their motherhood who had reported post maternity leave. So this harassment creates mental stress for cabin crew when they are on duty which may affects the safety of passengers as well.”
The union also alleged that certain "unethical" practices have been observed within the organisation, including the manipulation of height measurements to affect BMI calculations for contract renewal.
“The current height measurement equipment is non-calibrated, and this discrepancy has resulted in wrongful de-rostering of employees from duty. Furthermore, a distressing incident involving an Air India Express cabin crew member who suffered a spinal injury on duty and now faces a life in a wheelchair has brought to light issues of discrimination and lack of equal employment opportunities,” reads the letter.
“The employee's contract was terminated without considering ground work suitable for his limited abilities, leading to a legal dispute for justice. Although the Disability Commission ordered the allocation of an Assistant Operations role for one year, no actual job was assigned, and the contract termination was merely postponed. This situation contradicts the Tata Code of Conduct's commitment to equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of disability,” it added.
The letter also suggested irregularities in recruitment and promotions by COO Pushpinder Singh.
“Discrepancies in contract tenure for cabin crew members, favouritism, and monopolistic practices have raised concerns about fair labour practices within the organisation,” the union alleged.
“It is very shocking to know that under TATA banner Air India Express COO Capt. Pushpinder Singh running this organization as his own Whims and fancies. Pilot recruitment, Promotion etc. handling comes under him and he is mis utilising the authorities in a corrupted way. One of the cabin crew who has three warning letter in personal record and who is in good relation with him received full five year contract tenure where as other cabin crew who are part of union denied the justice and offered conditional contract for minor errors without a single warning letter. All these show how monopolistically he is driving the system in this reputed organisation,” reads the letter.
“Despite numerous attempts, our union has been denied the opportunity to discuss these concerns with CEO Mr. Aloke Singh, who appears resistant to addressing the issues raised. It is evident that there is a systemic problem, and we urge intervention to rectify the unjust treatment towards cabin crew employees at Air India Express Ltd. Your attention to this matter is crucial to upholding the principles of fairness, equality, and ethical conduct within the organisation,” it added.