Home / Companies / News /  Air India pilots want pay cuts rolled back

NEW DELHI : Pilots of national carrier Air India have written to the management of the airline seeking restoration of salaries stating that the 'disproportionate' pay cuts carried out during the last 18 months should rolled back with the subsiding of covid-19 pandemic.

The development comes at a time when the government is in the final phase of divesting its full stake in the national carrier Air India, its subsidiary Air India Express, and a 50% stake in the ground handling company Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt. Ltd (AISATS).

"With the advent of the pandemic, our layover sustenance allowance was drastically cut to approximately one-third of its original sum resulting in a 60% – 70% cut. Furthermore, our flying allowance was cut by 40%. This was only in theory. In practice, this cut surmounted to 70% to 80% due to the significant reduction in the number of flying hours allotted to each pilot," said a letter written by Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), a union of the airline comprising of pilots operating wide body aircraft. 

The letter was addressed to the airline's chairman and managing director, Rajiv Bansal, who took charge as the secretary of the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) from 1 October.

"It is imperative to remind you once again that the above two cuts have affected us severely wherein our total emoluments have been reduced by over 60% as compared to the rest of the workforce who have had the luxury of working from home through the pandemic and yet enjoyed the benevolence of a gentle pay cut to the tune of 10%," the pilots' union said in the letter. 

A copy of the letter has been reviewed by Mint.

The pilots' union also criticized the airline's management for its decision to retract the “full board" facility, which is providing all three meals to the pilots while on domestic or international layovers. 

"Do note the irony of the situation wherein the company at one end believes that the threat of Covid is subsiding, and yet acts otherwise when it comes to restoring our rightful pay," the pilots' union added in the letter. 

As things stand, the divestment process for Air India is in its final lap. 

Bloomberg had on Friday reported that Tata Group has won the bid for Air India.

However, hours later, secretary of Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (Dipam), Tuhin Kanta Pandey said that the government is yet to take a decision on the winning bidder for the airline adding that the winning bidder will be revealed as and when the government makes a decision. 

Tata Group and Ajay Singh, the chairman and managing director of SpiceJet Limited had in his personal capacity placed financial bids for the airline.

Meanwhile, in the letter addressed to Bansal, IPG pleaded with the management to reverse the pay cut ahead of the completion of the divestment process. 

"Eighteen months along, we once again highlight that the pay cut has been disproportionately implemented upon pilots. It is shameful that in spite of our continuous support and with the steady recovery of the aviation industry our pay scales continue to be held back and basic facilities continue to be withdrawn," IPG said in the letter. 

"Upon the eve of privatization, it would be righteous to stop the injustice and acknowledge the unending support of our members to the airline, to the MOCA and to the Indian passenger. We strongly urge you to reverse this pay cut and immediately reinstate our rightful wage structure," IPG added in the letter. 

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