New Delhi: Air India’s cabin crew union has objected to the company’s new rules mandating pre-flight — Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight — checks by “grooming associates”. The All India Cabin Crew Association conveyed its objections to the airline’s ‘Inflight Services Department’.
On January 20, 2022, the Executive Director of ISD, through an internal communication, informed cabin crew members about the new rules of checks on a quarterly basis.
The guidelines were introduced so that the crews are in line with laid-out norms in the uniform regulations.
According to the communication, the cabin supervisor of the flight will be responsible to ensure the required guidelines are followed.
“…it will be the responsibility of the cabin supervisor of the flight to ensure that her/his set of crew are well turned out and follow complete uniform regulations,” the communication sent out by the airline said.
The bone of contention between the union and the airline was that the latter wants these checks to be conducted by doctors in the privacy of medical clinics instead of “grooming assistants”.
“Furthermore there is to be dignity and privacy during the conduct of such medical checks, and ladies may only be treated/checked by a female practitioner,” the union said.
Besides, the newly-mandated compliance may disturb cabin crew members mentally ahead of their flights, it said.
“This stressful BMI check during a reporting at ‘CCMCO’ is bound to disturb crew mental preparation through giving rise to flight safety issues, pre-departure when cabin crew are required to conduct rapid review and briefings,” the union added.
The new rules could be in violation of the ‘Share Purchase Agreement’ between the government and Air India and Tata Group — the new owner of the national carrier awaiting formal handover, the union said in the letter to the ISD.
The union may seek legal remedies if the new rules are not withdrawn, it said.
“Respectfully, we thus would call upon you to amend the impugned circular and reissue it without the offending clause of ‘BMI Check/BMI Management’ failing which AICCA may be compelled to seek legal redressal which may also extend to the issuance of a directive and/or contempt, none of which we desire at this stage,” it added.