New Delhi: Not just salary rationalisation, but Air Indians are going to take hits everywhere. Subsidised food is going to disappear from their plates.
Currently, for just Rs 8, Air India staff can get to eat a sumptuous thali at Airlines House in New Delhi. But the Dharmadhikari Committee, which was set up to look into HR aspects of the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India, has said this practice should be stopped since the airline’s financial health is precarious.
“It is unthinkable that the company can subsidise food to the present level. The committee is of the view that till the company comes out of the present financial crisis and until it starts recovering the cash cost of operation, it can ill afford to provide subsidy to the food items through its canteens. Therefore, the company should run a common canteen for their employees at No-Profit No-Loss basis.” It welcomed the airline management’s efforts to outsource the canteen.
Employees of the merged entity will not just have to pay more for their lunch every day, but also share toilets. A senior airline official said separate wash rooms for the two sets of employees were being abolished. Different work-week definitions of the two erstwhile carriers are also being scrapped. The committee noted that even five years after the merger, Air India follows a six-day week (44 hours) while IA follows a five-day week. It has suggested a uniform 44-hour, six-day week policy across the merged airline.
Another small matter is that of the commander’s cap. It seems that while commanders of the erstwhile Air India wore caps, those of Indian Airlines did not. Anyhow, the Dharmadhikari committee has recommended that commanders of both AI and IA, who have completed 15,000 hours of flying, will now get to wear a cap which has a star embossed in between the oak leaves’ logo (earlier it was only the oak leaves logo). An commander with erstwhile AI said this was not a big issue – just that the IA commanders never wore caps. So they might find it difficult to adjust to the new rules!