Air India (AI) and its subsidiaries will now have six recognised unions following an election to reduce the number of trade unions in the airline. Prior to the elections, there were 14 recognised trade unions in the airline and two subsidiaries. The rationale behind the move to recognise fewer unions was that it would lead to better efficiency.
“Over 84 per cent of 12,000 employees voted last week to select the unions,” said the airline’s director (personnel) N K Jain. Following the election results which were announced late Wednesday evening, the airline management will grant recognition to Indian Aircraft Technicians Association and All India Aircraft Engineers Association — in its engineering subsidiary. Air India Employees Union and Air Corporation Employees Union — led by J B Kadian —will be the two recognised unions in the airline and its ground-handling subsidiary.
However, recognition to the ACEU will be granted only after dispute and court cases pertaining to its office bearers are settled. The airline’s pilots refused to participate in the election process and, as a consequence, pilots will not have a recognised union.
The management may still keep negotiations open with pilots despite their refusal to participate in the polls. Currently, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, which represents Airbus A320 pilots (of the erstwhile Indian Airlines), is the only recognised union in the airline while the Indian Pilots Guild was derecognised a few years ago following a strike.