Air Traffic Controllers' Guild (India)


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History  &  Overview  of  Struggle

Charter of Demands | ILO Report | Lahoti Report  

Julka Report  |  IFATCA Manual Excerpts

History of Struggle


For about 20 years now, dispute between ATCOs represented by ATC Guild (India), and the Employer (CAD/NAA/AAI) in India have been on, without a proper resolution.

At Geneva under the aegis of ILO, there was a Meeting of Experts from 8th to 16th May 1979 on the problems concerning Air Traffic Controllers. In the meeting, these experts arrived at certain conclusions, which are referred to as ILO report recommendations. These ILO recommendations have since been the basic frame of reference for the ATCOs all over the world. Ever since then, ATC Guild (India) has been requesting that the terms and conditions of service of the ATCOs should be brought in line with these recommendations of the ILO.

On 5th of May 1995, ATC Guild (India) submitted a Charter of Demands along-with a programme of agitation to the Management of AAI. On that occasion, AAI sought intervention of the Chief Labour Commissioner on the matter, and also filed a suit in the High Court of Delhi seeking permanent injunction restraining ATC Guild (India) from resorting to any agitation. To that, Honourable High Court of Delhi passed an Ex-Parté injunction (IA No. 4652 dated 26th May 1995) ordering that ATC Guild (India) is restrained from resorting to the programme of agitation which was enclosed with the Charter of Demands, and further directed  ATC Guild (India) to perform duties in accordance with the terms of service. ATC Guild (India) abided by the order and did not resort to the agitation.

On 7th June 1996 Regional Labour Commissioner directed AAI to resolve the matter by negotiation with ATC Guild (India) and closed the conciliation proceeding with option to reopen. On 4th of December 1996 the then Minister of Civil Aviation Shri C M Ibrahim directed AAI to resolve the matter by negotiation with ATC Guild (India). On 6th January 1997 Honourable High Court of Delhi, in the proceedings of Suit No. 1359/95 advised AAI to resolve the matter by discussion and negotiation with Guild. Despite all these directions AAI did not make any effort to resolve the issue.

On 24th January 1997, ATC Guild (India) submitted a revised Charter of Demands, (revising its Charter of Demands submitted on 5th May 1995).

On 10th March 1997, ATC Guild (India) informed AAI that ATCOs will not like to join AAI on expiry of two years of obligatory service to it, as per the provisions of AAI Act 1994, if terms and conditions of service are not made according to the Charter of Demands submitted on 24th January 1997.

On 31st March 1997, All the ATCOs submitted to AAI that in accordance with the provision of AAI Act 1994 they do not wish to join AAI after expiry of the obligatory two years period unless terms and conditions of service for the ATCOs are made in accordance with the Charter of Demands submitted on 24th January 1997. On that occasion AAI proposed;

  1. To form a committee to look into the issues pertaining to ATCOs.

  2. To negotiate and settle Charter of Demands in one month time.

  3. To sanction five interim allowances and compensation for the accumulated weekly offs.

On this occasion AAI moved another suit in the High Court of Delhi, to which Honourable High Court of Delhi passed an Ex-Parté injunction restraining ATCOs from resigning from the service of AAI (an option available to them according to the provisions of the AAI Act 1994). This suit was withdrawn by AAI on 4th April 1997 once it's (AAI) purpose was served.

On 2nd April 1997, A Committee headed by Shri Bimal Julka the then Director Ministry of Civil Aviation was set-up by Shri Ranjan Chatterjee under his signature as Chairman AAI and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation.

On 15th July 1997, Court of Inquiry Headed by Justice R C Lahoti of Delhi High Court submits its report to the Govt. of India.

On 1st September 1997 "Julka Committee" submits its Report to the Chairman AAI.

(The Charter of Demands was not discussed or resolved by AAI. The Interim Allowances proposed on 31st March 1997 were never sanctioned)

On 19th November 1997, With the intervention of the then Minister of State for Civil Aviation Smt. Jayanthi Natrajan and the then Secretary Civil Aviation Shri M K Kaw, a part of Julka Committee Report was implemented and remaining issues were to be implemented within 2 to 3 months time.

(Promises made regarding implementation of the remaining issues of the Julka Committee report by the Minister of State, Secretary and AAI were never fulfilled)

On 2nd November 1998, ATC Guild (India) submitted a review of the Charter of Demands in the light of Justice Lahoti Court of Inquiry report and Julka Committee Report. As such, the deamnds made by Guild were in line with the Professional Policy of the IFATCA (International Federation of the Air Traffic Controllers' Association). IFATCA Manual Excerpts.

On 27th January 1999 ATC Guild (India) submitted to AAI that it will launch a Satyagrah from 1st February 1999 onwards in order to make AAI see its requests (submitted vide Charter of Demands dated 24th January 1997 and review submitted on 2nd November 1998) in true perspective.

From 1st February 1999, ATC Guild (India) launches its Satyagrah.

On 10th February 1999, As per desire of the Chairman AAI, ATC Guild (India) makes a presentation to the Four Permanent Board Members of AAI, regarding its request for the Rationalisation of the Remuneration as per job responsibility. Guild suggested that remuneration of the ATCOs should be comparable to that of the ATCOs only just like the remuneration of the Pilots is comparable to that of the Pilots only.

From 12th February 1999, AAI Launched a Media Campaign against ATC Guild (India) and makes false statements to public and to the Court. Despite having heard the ATC Guild as latest as on 10th February 1999, on the issue of remuneration, AAI stated that ATC Guild is demanding pay hike and pay-parity with Pilots, which is contrary to the facts. ATC Guild (India) only requested that the remuneration of the ATCOs should be comparable to that of the ATCOs only.

On 16th February 1999, AAI filed a Contempt of Court petition in Honourable high court of Delhi, making false statements regarding requests/demands made by the Guild, and got an Ex-Parté injunction against ATC Guild (India). Honourable High Court of Delhi in its order of 16 February 1999 ordered that;

  1. The Air Traffic Controllers' Guild (India) are directed not to take any step with regard to causing disruption of flights leading to delay;

  2. The defendants are further directed not to do anything by which delay or any inconvenience is caused to the customers;

  3. The defendants are directed to perform their duties and responsibilities meticulously in accordance with the terms of their service;

  4. The Air Traffic Controllers' Guild (India) are further restrained from adopting any agitational approach of go-slow in all the 89 national airports, 5 international airports where the services of the defendants are presently being utilised.

The matter was listed for 19 February 1999.

On 18th February 1999, AAI dismissed six ATCOs without conducting any inquiry or giving any hearing to these six ATCOs. and on fabricated charges, and lodged false police complaints against these ATCOs.

On 19th February 1999, ATC Guild (India) submitted an assurance to the Honourable High Court of Delhi that the members of the Air Traffic Controllers' Guild (India) will abide by the directions of the Honourable Court of Delhi. Matter was listed for 26.02.99. 

On 26th February 1999, ATC Guild (India) submitted that grievances of the ATC Guild be looked into by an impartial machinery. Matter was listed for 9.4.99.

On 15th March 1999, all the six officers requested AAI to supply to them copies of all the documents, statements, tape transcripts and other material that might have been taken into consideration while passing the dismissal orders, so as to enable these officers to make their appeals.

On 20th March 1999, police on the complaints filed by AAI arrested four of the dismissed ATCOs at Mumbai. At that time all the ATCOs all over India embarked upon a Fast unto Death, although performing their duties regularly and properly. 

On 22nd March 1999, after a meeting with the Chairman AAI, wherein he assured to discuss all the pending issues and demands including withdrawal of FIRs and Dismissal of ATCOs and issue of arrest of ATCOs this 'Fast unto Death' was withdrawn.

Finally on 15th April 1999, finding that AAI is neither withdrawing the improperly passed dismissal orders nor supplying the material requested by the dismissed ATCOs, these officers filed Writs in the Honourable High Court of Delhi challenging these dismissal orders.

On 7th May 1999, AAI proposed to form a committee of three Members of AAI Board. ATC Guild (India) requested impartial machinery in the form of arbitration by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court. Matter listed for 27.5.99.

On 27th May 1999, ATC Guild (India) requested that for creation of an amicable atmosphere for resolution of the issues, AAI to recall dismissal of the six ATCOs and the police complaints against these officers. Court directed AAI Counsel to take instructions from client. Matter was adjourned till 9.7.99. 

Matter continued to get adjourned as the AAI counsel kept requesting for adjournment or did not appear in the court. 

On 27th September 2000, AAI requested to withdraw the Suite 1359 of 95 and the Contempt Petition moved on 16th February 1999. Court conceded to the request.

On 2nd November 2006, Honourable Division Bench of Delhi High Court ordered that all six dismissed ATCOs be reinstated without break in service on 13th November 2006. The seven and half year long struggle by the Guild ultimately bore fruit.

Justice R C Lahoti. (in his Inquiry-Report into Mid-Air Collision of 12th November 1996 Charkhi-Dadri):

 "ATC is a unique job and its comparison with any other is uncalled for. It needs an identity of its own. Once that is accepted in principle, the disputes arising between ATC Guild (India) and the authorities (Govt/AAI) could be amicably settled."

AAI dismissed these six officers, only because ATCOs were requesting implementation of an Accident Inquiry Report (by the then sitting judge of the Delhi High Court) and a Report of a Committee formed by AAI itself (Julka Committee).

History  &  Overview  of  Struggle

Charter of Demands | ILO Report | Lahoti Report  

Julka Report  |  IFATCA Manual Excerpts

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