Panel on Air India pay disparity begins work

New Delhi: A four-member committee constituted to look into the salary disparity between employees of the merged entities Air India and India Airlines is due to submit its report by September this year. The panel of independent experts was formed to make recommendations as the issue continues to fester three years after the airlines were merged.

The committee is headed by retired judge DN Dharmadhikari and includes R Dholakia, professor at IIM, Ahmedabad and Rajeshwar Dayal, a retired Department of Public Enterprises official. As member secretary it has Syed Nasir Ali, a director in the ministry for civil aviation.

According to ministry officials, the committee has begun its work and will submit its recommendations in five months. It will meet all staff in the airline, including members of two unions that were de-registered after a flash strike.

The merged entity of Air India has 14 unions. Two of these – the Air Corporation Employees Union and the Air India Aircraft Engineers' Association - were de-registered after they went on a flash strike following an Air India Express flight crash in Mangalore last year.

Ministry officials said the committee would meet any union, with a representation of at least 50 members, including the de-recognised unions.

Meanwhile, Air India, has seen an improvement in its passenger load factors. It recently ceded the fourth position to IndiGo. As part of its effort to regain lost market share it has launched competitive fares for the peak summer season.