The two leading pilot associations of the country the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) and the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), have written a reminder letter to the Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, saying they fail to understand why barbaric austerity measures apply only to Air India pilots. The copy of the letter is given below for the benefit of viewers of www.indianpsu.com
Shri. Hardeep Singh Puriji
Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation New Delhi
Subject: Reminder for an urgent meeting
Respected Shri Hardeep Singh Puriji,
The frontline workers of Air India, Air India Express and Alliance Air pilots continue to be shackled with an indefinite and unilateral wage cut of up to 70% while the indifferent company top management contributes a namesake 10%. Surely the contrast is self-evident. The whole situation is further turning grotesque as the industry is firmly set on the road to recovery and austerity measures are being scaled back.
Sir, through our representations and meetings, we have laboriously shown you how Air India management’s cost cutting is mala fide and disproportionate. It does not bear any semblance to the aviation industry standards and from the following observations, it is amply evident that it does not compare with the government response either.
1. The Lok Sabha has passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020. In this amendment, the salaries of Members of Parliament have been reduced by 30% for a period of one year to meet the exigencies arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even at the highest strata of our country’s government, there is a clear recognition of reasonable time bound austerity measures across the board to compensate for the disruption due to the lockdown. This is an unequivocal precedence for all government organisations in the country, Air India included.
2. The DGCA has offered contract FOI’s special as well as a Non Flying Compensation. We fail to understand why barbaric austerity measures apply only to Air India pilots.
3. Sir, you have expressed confidence that air travel would reach pre-COVID levels by the end of the year. In our meetings in the month of September 2020, you had given us an assurance to look into our grievances positively. Kindly note that while the other airlines are rolling back the austerity pay cuts for their pilots, the wage cut for Air India pilots further increased from October 2020. This is completely divorced from market reality and equally unfair to pilots of Air India and its subsidiaries.
4. Pilots who test positive for COVID-19 need to undergo quarantine/ hospitalisation. This has to be followed by a NOC, mandatory Medical checks and DGCA approval. The entire process to get back to flying takes more than a month. Is it fair to deny these pilots their livelihood due to an occupational hazard? Is this how MoCA wants to treat the workmen who are making the Vande Bharat Flights possible?
The airline top management has let us down tremendously. Our pilots have expressed their displeasure and are extremely troubled by this unwarranted ordeal. We once again urge you to intervene immediately and put a stop to this victimisation. We therefore urgently request a follow up meeting with you.