Air India Case Section D, Group 1 Amit| Niven | Ravi | Roushan | Sneha | Sonali | Vinayak 1) From a legal framework perspective (breaking or twisting a law), how would you evaluate the action of Air-India management, and IPG in this case? AnsFollowing is the classification of the actions of both Air India Management and IPG under a legal framework. Concerned party| Legal| Illegal| Air India Managment| 1. Reduces flights to SARS hit areas and operates others through executive pilots to address the concerns and agitation. 2.
Ensured avoidance of overnight stay at prone areas. 3. Tried addressing the issues through Regional Labour Commissioner. | 1. The management took a very unconcerned stand on the issue of wage revisions throughout its history. The last wage revision was in 1998/1999 pertaining to 1995 and it had been a decade for the next revision. This led to natural resentment in the pilots and a feeling of misalignment from company objectives. 2. Denial of charges of two pilots showing symptoms of disease. 3. Suspends 12 pilots without issuing notice as per the case. . Refuses to revoke charge sheets even when pilots call off strike and forces to sign undertaking to force objectives. 5. Implicitly encourages a sense of differentiation in the pilot community by promoting different levels of seniority, wage differential and attaching monetary benefits to lucrative destinations| IPG| 1. Passing a No Confidence resolution against the management of Air India by each new IPG committee shows a biased stand taken by the IPG to promote unhealthy relationships with the management despite its right efforts also. 1. Issuing directive to its members not to operate flights to Hong Kong and Singapore and by adopting non-constitutional means of agitation that led to loss of revenue or promotion of spirit of discord was against the agreement clause it signed with management. Instead IPG should have started an agitation without stopping activity. As per rules, Union cannot stop others from working. 2. Issues a second directive to stop flights without being reasonable even when Air India management curtailed flights to prone areas. 3.
Even after meeting with MOCA disagrees to withdraw directives. | 2) If you as the President of IPG could have relived the entire conflict, what 5 changes in your approach would you have made to handle things better? Ans The president of IPPG, as rightly mentioned in the case, was very immature and hasty in handling the situation. Disguising a need of wage negotiation and a possible pay for the free training into the problem of SARS was very juvenile decision. If I were to relive as the head of IPG, I would have made the following 5 changes:- ) Raising the issues of wages – The issue of wage increment, which effectively was not taken since a decade and also not taken up since last five years, would have been discussed openly rather than putting it in the veil of SARS. Doing so would have put the light directly on the issue and any discussion as well as outcome would revolve around this primary issue of wage increment rather than SARS 2) SARS Clause – If SARS was truly a concern for the pilots and the union, I would have strongly put forth the demand of thorough screening and reporting of the health profile of all pilots, staff, crew and passengers.
I would have proposed a clause from the company stating a regular check-up of its entire pilot crew and if any case of SARS is detected, the company to bear all expense cure as well as additional compensation to the disease inflicted pilot. Had this clause been refused by the company then a necessary action be taken in the form of tough negotiation and/or appeal to the labor council. Moreover, under any circumstances I wouldn’t have ventured out of the clauses of the labor Union Act of 1954. ) Gathering of Strengths – Assuming the staff and other crew (air hostesses, cleaners and house-keeping) might too have a union, I would have initially won their support for the agitation. An added pressure of the working staff would definitely make the management ponder seriously over the issue and if at all they resort to showing notices to the pilots, they would have to do it for all the staff and crew, a danger the management wouldn’t want to get into. Rather than complete non-cooperation over the SARS issue a collective agitation would have made the management more considerate to the problem. ) Negotiation and Arguments – As the main clause under the IPG Union formation Act was that “no action of IPG should cause a breakdown of operation or loss of revenue to the company” a complete strike out of the pilot wouldn’t be advisable. This put their case weakly in front of the judiciary. A tough negotiation and putting forth the logical arguments is what I would have done. Also in the IPG agreement, there is no clause in making a resentment of the employees’ public.
Hence I would have leveraged the already present news media network in 2003 and made it known that there is a threat from the SARS disorder. Air India, being in a service industry where hospitality is the key driver of customer satisfaction, would hamper the image of Air India considerably making the management to resolve the issue quickly. 5) Resolution of the internal strife- The major reason that the strike didn’t put the management on the negotiating table was that management knew there were internal strife between the pilots and thus the strike wouldn’t gather the steam in the long run.
For any agitation of a union to be successful, it is important that all members in the union are religiously determined in achieving the common goal. Any internal conflict within the union would give the management an escape route from the negotiation. Thus I would have strived to put in a sense of acceptance of the issue among all pilots and resolve the conflict among the pilots. 3) How do you evaluate the action of Government and the Judiciary in this case?
In the context of IR in India, what trends can you foresee in the roles the Government and the Judiciary will play in the future? AnsThe action of the government and the Judiciary is justifiable. The government represented by the MOCA i. e. Ministry of Civil Aviation sided with the management condemning the actions of IPG. Since IPG was bonded by the clause that they cannot cause a disruption of the operation of Air India and a potential loss of revenue, the strike brought many a problems to the management causing severe customer relationships as well.
The decision of not attending to the flight with passengers on was a very drastic decision taken by a pilot under IPG influence. Thus, the firing of pilots and showcasing notices to them was justifiable action by management which was duly recognized by the government and judiciary. A saving face was also granted to IPG by the judiciary by making the management take back all the fired pilots in the SARS controversy. In context of the case, the judiciary and the government will become the final word in any conflict between the management and IPG.
The pro-management decision of judiciary and government might put them in an enviable position as per IPG but at the same time management might resort to them more often in any conflict. Thus the judiciary and government would always want to take right stand as far as these two parties are concerned. In a wider context, the Indian labor unions are strong and often generate a wide mass interest by involving in various agitations. The government is looked as a neutral arbitrator to resolve the conflicts which more often than not, put management in bad face.