Air India, unions in deadlock over wage-cuts

Mumbai: The Air India management and its unions failed to arrive at a wage-cut agreement today with union representatives resolute on opposing any revision. Air India management and the unions had met yesterday to discuss a proposal to slash employee productivity-linked incentives (PLIs)/flying allowance by 50 per cent as a part of an overall turnaround plan.

"The meeting with the management went on till the early hours of today but ended without any agreement on the issue," Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) regional secretary, Vivek Rao, said here.

"There are other ways and means to turnaround the company than slashing employees' wages," Rao said.

"We are opposed to any cuts. We are, however, ready to sit across the table on other issues such as wasteful expenditure which would have an impact on company's finances but wages," he said.

Air India wants to halve the amount of Rs1,400-crore which it pays to its employees as PLI in a bid to stem mounting losses. The organisation has said that wage bills constitute the second largest operational cost after aviation turbine fuel.

"We have submitted our proposal to the prime minister on the turnaround plan. In our view, a wage cut is not a solution and we will continue to stick to our stand," Rao said.

The merged entity of Air India currently hosts around 14 unions.