Air India’s pilots’ body to conduct secret ballot to decide strike call

Mumbai: The pilots body of the erstwhile Indian Airlines would conduct a secret ballot to decide on a strike call against the exclusion of pilots from workmen category.

The decision to conduct secret ballot, which would take place between August 31 and September 9, was taken by the Central Executive Committee meeting of the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), sources said.

ICPA represents narrow-body pilots in Air India.

“It is indisputable that the management is trying to fight one-sided by trying to manipulate the law and remove us from the workmen category as they fear losing a case, pending in the

Honourable Supreme Court,” the association said in a notification to its around 650 members.

The Central Executive Committee is of the strong judgement to declare strike, it said adding, ” A secret ballot is called for this purpose from August 31 to September 9 for a mandate as per the Constitution of ICPA.” “In spite of the pilots demand to withdraw the illegal notification on workmen as expected, there is no response from the management…

It’s time we reach out and make the nation aware of the gross injustice and the illegal things that has been happening in Air India,” the notification said.

A notification issued by Air India last week said the Labour Ministry had issued a clarification regarding differentiation on categories of pilots in the airline pilot in command (PIC) and co-pilots.

In the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, a non-workmen is defined as an employee who is mainly in managerial or administrative capacity, or who draws wages exceeding Rs 10,000 per month.

The call for secret ballot comes two days after over 12,000 employees of the national carrier elected six unions including in its ground handling and engineering subsidiaries to represent them during bilateral negotiations with the management.

They will now be given recognition by the management.

However, the two pilots unions– Indian Pilots Guild, which represents wide-body fleet– and ICPA had not participate in the poll process.