In a letter to Air India chairman and managing director Rajiv Bansal, the pilots has expressed unwillingness to take the proposed pay cut. Describing the pay cut as 'hilarious', the Air India pilots wrote, "The proposed cut for the pilots is almost 60% of gross emoluments... the top management has proposed a meager 3.5% cut on its own gross salary."
"For e.g. the Director Personnel takes a minuscule cut of 4% on gross pay while a Co-pilot, who is paid less than the market, is given a cut of 60%. How is this justified? Doesn't this amount to unchecked greed and selfishness?" the Air India pilots said in their letter to the Rajiv Bansal.
The salary cut has been proposed at a a time when they have not received 70% of their salaries since April this year, the pilots wrote.
Till now, at least 55 pilots have been tested for coronavirus infection."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 Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) wants to honour frontline workers?" the letter asked.
The pilots have also sought time with aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri to discuss the proposed pay cut. Air India pilots said they would also return all the appreciation certificates by Prime Minister Narendra Modi if the airlines implement the pay cut.
"You had briefed us that the MoCA has given you directions to slash pilots' salary by 60%. 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 Minister of Civil Aviation and return all the appreciation letters given to our pilots by him as well as the Hon'ble Prime Minister for our service to the nation," the Air India pilots said in their letter.
"Nevertheless, we will continue to serve the nation in this time of need as always," the pilots said."To discuss a retrospective pay cut on the work done is unfair and humiliating to an employee who has been loyal to the company and the Nation," the letter added.
On Wednesday, Air India approved a scheme for sending employees on leave without pay (LWP) for a time period ranging from six months to two years which can be extended up to five years.
To determine the employee who would be sent on leave, factors such as suitability, efficiency, competence, quality of performance, health, instances of non-availability of the employees for duty in the past as a result of ill-health or otherwise and redundancy will be taken into account. The carrier asked departmental heads at headquarters and regional directors to assess each individual on the above factors and identify the cases in which the policy can be exercised, according to a report in ANI.