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NEW DELHI : Air India's pilot unions, Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), on Thursday rejected a partial roll back of their salary-cuts stating that the unions would be forced to resort to calling in strikes if the issue was not addressed.

"We do not accept this paltry 5% roll back in illegal pay cut and you may advise the concerned to donate this 5% towards funds for building the Parliament or PM CARE," both unions wrote in a joint letter to the airline's chairman and managing director Rajiv Bansal.

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"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," the letter said.

A copy of the letter, which is dated 24 December, has been reviewed by Mint.

In the letter the unions said that the disproportionate unilateral pay cut imposed on pilots due to the covid-19 pandemic, since April 2020, amounts to a gross reduction of upto 58% of their salaries.

"This cut has been carefully worded to slash our wages by more than half while insulating top management from any meaningful austerity contribution such as a fair percentage cut on gross emoluments which spreads the burden fairly," the unions said in the letter.

"We have gone above and beyond during this pandemic risking life & limb to ensure the success of Vande Bharat Mission. In spite of 171 pilots testing COVID-19 positive, operations continue to run smoothly even in the face of a resurgence of an even deadlier strain of COVID19," they added.

The letter also stated that while parliamentarians have only taken 30 per cent cut on gross emoluments and vehemently refused to take a higher cut, pilots continue to suffer from a massive pay cut.

"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 austerity measures significantly. In contrast, our management is content hiding behind the COVID-19 Pandemic & Ministry of Civil Aviation," it added.

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