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Air India Crew - A loyal face of Airline but a victimised employee. New CMD No hopes.

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To, The CMD Respected Mr. Ashwani Lohani, In the article in ‘The Hindustan Times’ (by a Mr. Tushar Srivastava) on the 6th October,’15, it has been reported that the AI CMD would like 'to have a zero tolerance policy on Crew caught stealing stuff from flights'. At the outset, we the crew family appreciate and believe that CMD meant that he would like to have such a policy of' ‘zero tolerance' for any illegal act against the interests of the Company. The article’s first two paragraphs give the impression that the losses incurred by ‘debt laden Air India’ are primarily due to ‘pilferage of items in-flight by Crew.’ The article also says that the CMD has read the ‘Riot Act’ to the employees of Air India. But the article for some reason has singled out the ‘Cabin crew’ for special mention as ‘thieving employees'. This singling out, has created tremendous ‘angst’ among the cabin crew. What we fail to understand is the generalisation implied in the article. It is blatantly unnecessary, unless the intention is to alienate the cabin crew of the airline, and the CMD believes that ‘ALL’ cabin crew are thieves. There are black sheep in every organization, every department, but to paint everyone with the same brush is so grossly unfair to say the least! If one finds it appropriate to be so unfair by maligning the whole crew community or group of employees as thieves, will our CMD accept painting everyone including HIMSELF with the same brush for many misdeeds / misconducts that have happened, happening and may happen at the higher levels in the Company by his predecessors and his assistants? Or is the CMD trying to project an image / say that he is the only person who is ‘squeaky clean’, is the only someone with the ‘golden heart filled with goodness of intentions’ and every other employee of the airline is a thief, a laggard, and a wasteful resource? Reading the ‘Riot Act’ to the whole of Air India, and to investigate sincerely the reasons why we are in a state of being ‘debt laden’ would have been much appreciated. Laying the blame for Air India’s losses or current state at the employee’s door, and that too specifically of the ‘Crew’ is deplorable, not expected from a person supposedly of ‘CALIBRE’. From the article, and no correction forthcoming till date, - I don’t think the current ‘Calibre’ is any different from what we had seen previously. The Cabin crew have been the prime factor, (I refrain from saying, may be the ONLY factor) that has brought fare paying passengers back to Air India for the past so many years. It is the cabin crew who assuage, mollify the passenger who has been roughed up, ignored and treated badly, (in short - defecated upon) by ground handling. Even if a passenger is genuinely dissatisfied in flight, it has in all probability a reason in defective seats, video screens, food quality, lack of amenities or any such non working , or non available equipment / item he has to deal with, which is NOT in the control of the cabin crew 99% of the time. All the deficiencies and shortages in materials, and management have been ‘overcome’ by the hospitality of cabin crew present with their warmth and personal attention to passengers. It is the Crew who ‘cover up’ for such deficiencies piled on to the passengers. The soft skills most of us have learnt on our own - no other department has. (The airline has no programme / or specific training to impart for soft skills to crew till date. This may hurt egos, others may not accept it, but this is a truth. ) The above mentioned article in The HT surely would not have been published without the CMD’s consent. This policy of ‘zero tolerance’ should be applied to all departments in all respects that will reduce the indiscipline or thieving of time, money and any other resource. The CMD’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy if applied to ALL departments would certainly be most welcome. Especially by crew members, who are witnesses to the wastage of the airline’s resources daily on flights. The management’s promises to passengers of excellent service are belied due to lack of action and support from other sections of the airline in terms of quality, quantity of materials available on board. Feedback to the airline is ignored and conditions remain deplorable for months if not years! Cheap quality equipment, procurement and uplift at exorbitant rates, and lack of maintenance seem to be ‘the rule’ rather than the exception. Even today under the guise of cost cutting inexperienced caterers service the aircraft. Example - BKK, and EWR. Accepted there have been certain incidents (which are highlighted repeatedly by the media in connivance with some ‘responsible officers’ of the company) to the detriment of crew, to belittle them in the public eye. Have you even considered that you may be referring to the misdeeds of a very, very small percentage of people who may have retired long ago or may even be in their grave? One must be aware from one’s so touted 'experience' in various organisations and as head of various departments that such adverse publicity damages the image of the airline. If the intention is to bring about discipline and discourage pilferage, you must look at the right places where such pilferage or detrimental actions are most likely to occur since it is claimed that this leader has so much experience! There are departments which deal with procurement, storage, dispatch, record keeping etc. of the various items, bonded and non-bonded used in the running of the airline, catering to the flights It would certainly be a good idea for a committed person, or an enlightened leader who wants to turn-around the company to be focusing on such areas. Fact is that the pilferage would be directly proportionate to the 'integrity of the Security - Personnel, Mechanisms or Procedures'. It is with a lot of hope that we had welcomed our CMD to head the airline through its difficult phase. But the above article in HT, and the absence of correction from the CMD’s office comes as a disappointment to our hopes of having a leader who can see us through the difficult times. We the Crew family condemned this act and are signing this petition against it as it Only de motivates us.


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