In a strong worded letter to the CMD of Air India, the two main bodies of Indian Aviation, the Indian Pilots’ Guild and the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, have given a final ultimatum to the CMD of Air India, Rajeev Bansal. In a letter written to Bansal, copies of which have been marked to the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Office of Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Director (Operations) Air India Limited, Director (Personnel) Air India Limited and General Manager (Industrial Relations), Air India Ltd, the unions have spoken, apparently for the first time of “Industrial Action”, describing this in simple language – going to strike or stage a major protest or both of them. www.indianpsu.com – here produces the copy of the joint letter written by the two unions, for the benefit of its viewers.
Shri. Rajiv Bansal
Chairman & Managing Director Air India Ltd
Subject: Humiliation of frontline workers
It is unfortunate that even now the duality of the management continues unabated, humiliating front line employees while simultaneously paying lip service. Right now, the disproportionate unilateral pay cut imposed on pilots in the name of COVID-19 amounts to a gross reduction up-to 58% of our rightful wages, from the month of April 2020. 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.
We have been very patient and have shown a lot of restraint to ensure smooth flight operations. 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 COVID- 19.
We have now had three meetings with the Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation. He was very positive and had specifically asked us to convey to the Air India pilot community that due cognizance has been taken of pilots pay cut and it will be rolled back significantly.
This pittance in the form of a 5% decrease in the current wage cut is an outright insult, its sting magnified in light of our unwavering support and trust in this company. This ‘generosity’ amounts to a reduction of approx. 3% in the current gross pay cut for pilots.
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 there austerity measures significantly. In contrast, our management is content hiding behind the COVID-19 Pandemic & Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Sir, while the parliamentarians themselves have taken a cut of only 30% on gross emoluments and vehemently refused to take a higher cut, we think it is completely egregious for us pilots to continue tolerating this arbitrary massive pay cut of 55% on our gross emoluments. We do not accept this paltry 5% roll back in illegal pay cut and you may advice the concerned to donate this 5% towards funds for building the Parliament or PM CARE.
We have given the management every benefit of doubt as well as ample time to redress the issue of disproportionate pay cut for pilots of Air India and its subsidiaries so there is no point left in mincing words. 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”.