Air India Pilots’ Unions Up In Arms As National Carrier Proposes 60% Salary Cut
55 Pilots Tested COVID-19 Positive While On Duty, Is This The Way To Honour Frontline Workers, Ask Unions
New Delhi: Even as 55 Air India pilots have contracted coronavirus while discharging their duty, the national carrier has proposed a 60 per cent salary cut for its pilots.
No wonder the airline’s pilot unions are up in arms.
“The proposed cut for pilots is almost 60 per cent of gross emoluments. It is hilarious to note that the top management has proposed a meagre 3.5 per cent cut on its own gross salary,” stated a joint letter by the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) and Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) to Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal.
“For example, the Director Personnel takes a minuscule cut of 4 per cent on gross pay while a co-pilot who is paid less than the market is given a cut of 60 per cent. How is this justified? Doesn’t this amount to unchecked greed and selfishness?” the unions observed in the letter.
Regular international flights have been suspended since March 23 in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, but Air India has been operating international repatriation flights under the Union government’s Vande Bharat Mission. Domestic passenger flights restarted on a limited scale from May 25.
“As of date, 55 pilots have tested positive for COVID-19. Is it fair to penalise these pilots by saying that they will be paid on actual flying hours? They are unable to fly as they contracted the coronavirus while on duty. Is this how the MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) wants to honour frontline workers,” the unions asked the CMD.
Questioning the Civil Aviation ministry’s decision to slash pilots’ salary by 60 per cent, the unions stated: “This is nowhere at par with market standards. If this is true, then we would like to humbly submit that we would like to seek an appointment with the Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation and return all the appreciation letters given to our pilots by him as well as the Honourable Prime Minister for our service to the nation,” they stated.
Earlier this week, Air India said they will send some employees on compulsory leave without pay (LWP) for up to five years.