By Rohit Vaid
National carrier Air India’s pilot unions have alleged that the airline’s management under the guidance of the Centre plans to institute a 60 per cent pay cut on a retrospective basis.
Accordingly, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association and the Indian Pilots’ Guild have jointly alleged that plans are afoot to cut almost 60 per cent of gross emoluments owed to pilots.
In a letter written to the airline’s CMD Rajiv Bansal, which was reviewed by IANS, the two unions said: “The proposed cut for pilots is almost 60 per cent of gross emoluments. It is hilarious to note that the top management has proposed a meagre 3.5 per cent cut on its own gross salary.”
“… The ‘Director Personnel’ takes a minuscule cut of 4 per cent on gross pay while a Co-pilot who is paid less than the market is given a cut of 60 per cent. How is this justified? Doesn’t this mount to unchecked greed and selfishness?”
The letters dated July 16, refers to a series of meetings held with the airlines management and ministry officials.
Both the unions said that they have expressed willingness to negotiate a pay cut in line with the current market conditions.
However, “We were told by the Ministry officials that we are being compared to one of the leading low cost private carriers, it was then explained to the MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) officials how the worst conditions of these private airlines were being cherry picked to our disadvantage.”
According to the letter, the unions said: “You (Bansal) had briefed us that the MoCA has given you directions to slash pilots’ salary by 60 per cent. 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 Hon’ble 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. Nevertheless, we will continue to serve the nation in this time of need, as always.”
Besides, both the unions said that pilots have not been paid 70 per cent of their pay since the month of April 2020.
“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. We demand that the management honour our existing agreements till such time a mutually agreed settlement is reached,” the letter dated July 16 said.
“We would like to remind you that nobody is above the law and we hope Air India and the Secretary, Civil Aviation, will respect the law of the land.”
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)