Air India restructuring will seek to reduce number of unions

Mumbai: As part of its turnaround plan, which also involves a certain amount of restructuring, Air India, is trying to push through a 'one craft, one union' formula for its 40,000-odd workforce.

The proposal looks at reducing the incredibly large number of unions that have mushroomed amongst the staff and also help in implementing the merger process of Air India with the erstwhile Indian Airlines (IA).

The move, however, requires the consent of unions.

Not surprisingly, the unions have dug in their heels and by way of a counter are demanding that the management first bring parity in pay and service conditions for AI and IA staff before moving ahead with a single union formula.

Air India has 12 recognised unions covering several categories of workforce such as pilots, aircraft engineers, ground staff and cabin crew, among others.

For instance, pilots have two competing unions - Indian Pilots Guild and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (which represents erstwhile IA). For the cabin crew, there are the All India Cabin Crew Association and the Air Corporation Employees Union (representing IA crew but derecognised last year after an illegal strike).