In a major step towards resolving the Air India crisis, the government of India Friday announced uniform pay scale and uniform working hours for both Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines employees.

Announcing a road map for Air India, based on the Dharmadhikari Committee report, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said that a special panel would be formed to commit the recommendations.

Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi Friday, Ajit Singh said that a four-member panel would hold discussions with the employees, unions and Air India management and would submit their report on implementing the Dharmadhikari report within 45 days.

The Dharmadhikari Committee, which was formed to look into HR issues caused by the unscientific merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, submitted its report Jan 31. The report constitutes several recommendations to remove the anomalies in the pay scale and carrier progression of the employees of Air India and Indian Airlines.

The report also recommended crucial changes in HR policy, including the abolishment of PLI (productivity-linked incentive) for employees while linking pay scales to profit and industry norms.

A panel of three officials vetted the Dharmadhikari Committee report which the government publicized Friday. Here are the key recommendations:

  • A panel will look into wage rationalization and carrier progression issues and will hold discussions with employee unions and management in this regard. Employees' grievances will be addressed.
  • Panel will give recommendations in 45 days and implementation will start after that.
  • Pilots of both the airlines get equal opportunity, pay and working hours.
  • April 1, 2011, will be the cutoff date for salary revision.
  • Work allowances and related benefits to the employees will be impartial and according to industry standards.
  • Promotions will be announced after reviewing seniority.
  • Pay scales of pilots will be profit and performance linked.
  • Promotions for pilots will be based on skill tests, exams and certifications.
  • Cross-training between AI and IA, which is the crux of the ongoing AI pilots' stir, will be allowed.
  • For non-management employees, pay scale and allowances will be based on Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) guidelines.
  • Cross utilization of resources including manpower and other resources.

Reacting to the ongoing strike by the AI pilots that has cost more than Rs 3.3 billion to the debt-laden national carrier, Ajit Singh said that the pilots should be ready to resume work unconditionally.

They should come unconditionally to work. Their strike is illegal as they have not served any notice. Even court has said the same, the minister said at the press conference.

He added that since the government had taken the necessary steps to implement the Dharmadhikari report, which addresses all issues relating to their demand, pilots didn't have the ground to continue with their agitation.