‘Donate it to PM CARES’, Air India pilots reject 5% reversal in pay cut
Air India (AI) pilots have rejected a 5% reversal in their pay cut and and asked Air India CMD to ‘donate’ it towards funds for building the Parliament or PM CARE. They have also warned that they will be forced to resort to ‘industrial action’ unless the pay cut is significantly reduced in wake of air traffic beginning to revive.
“If we do not see a timely substantial reduction in this disproportionate pay cut, we will be forced to seek justice through harsher means including industrial action,” it added.
In a letter to Rajiv Bansal, Air India Chairman and Managing Director, the two pilot associations – Indian Pilots’ Guild and Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association wrote, “We do not accept this paltry 5% roll back in illegal pay cut and you may advice the concerned to donate this 5% towards funds for building the Parliament or PM CARE.”
The letter points out that till now 171 Air India pilots have tested Covid positive while operating Vande Bharat Mission flights during the pandemic. They have claimed that with air traffic reviving, the pilots were assured of significant reversal of pay cut.
“The disproportionate unilateral pay cut imposed on pilot in the name of Covid-19 amounts to a gross reduction up to 58% of our rightful wages, from the month of April 2020. We have been very patient and have shown a lot of restraint to ensure smooth flight operations,” the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA, union of erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots) has written to AI chairman and managing director Rajiv Bansal on Thursday in a letter titled ‘humiliation of frontline workers’.
Even MPs have taken a lower pay cut, the pilots said. “While the parliamentarians themselves have taken a cut of only 30% on gross emoluments and vehemently refused to take a higher cut, we think it is completely egregious for us pilots to continue tolerating this arbitrary massive pay cut of 55% on our gross emoluments,” the letter said.
The Aviation industry in India is firmly on the rebound with domestic air traffic increasing substantially from 25% in April 2020 to 80% as of December 2020, a fact acknowledged by other airlines who have started rolling back their austerity measures significantly. “In contrast, our management is content hiding behind the Covid-19 pandemic and Ministry of Civil Aviation,” they added.