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The Air India employees have threatened to stop working if pan India vaccination centres are not set up for all flying crew.

"If Air India fails to set up vaccination camps on a pan India basis for the flying crew above the age of 18 years on priority, we will stop work," the Air India pilot union and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) told the director (operations) of the airline.

Air India had earlier decided to set up a mass vaccination camp for its employees aged 45 years and above.

"Air India has decided to organise a camp for its employees. Almost 5,000-6,000 employees will be given vaccines," an official was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The pilots' body had recently written a letter to Union minister of state for civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri seeking to restore their pre-Covid monthly pay.

ICPA said the assurances given by the minister in the past acted as a bulwark against the alleged apathetic behaviour of the Air India management towards the pilots during these trying times.

"However, more than 12 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, we find it quite demoralising that even your office has not addressed any of our grievances," the ICPA said.

It said the pay cut continues despite its members undertaking the longest, most challenging and most diverse missions under the Vande Bharat scheme. "Now, to compound our woes, this deadlier second wave has gripped the country requiring travel restrictions on Indians worldwide due to the elevated risks of infection."

"The number of passengers and crew testing positive for Covid-19 has increased fourfold, and consequently, the rate of infections has shot up drastically for the Air India pilots and also for our family members," it said.

"It was already an uphill task to arrange timely medical support like hospital beds and oxygen cylinders for our increasing numbers and now, the situation is becoming chaotic," it added.

Stating that the pilots have not even been categorised as front line workers despite having been at the frontline from Day 1, the letter said: "Ironically, we were the first to get a pay cut but are the last to be considered for vaccination."


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