In a letter to Rajiv Bansal, Air India Chairman and Managing Director, the two pilot associations — Indian Pilots` Guild and Indian Commercial Pilots` Association — said: “We do not accept this paltry 5 per cent roll back in illegal pay cut and you may advice the concerned to donate this 5 per cent towards funds for building the Parliament or PM CARE”.
Air India pilots said they will be forced to resort to “industrial action”. “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`,” they added.
Even MPs have taken a lower pay cut, the pilots said. “While the parliamentarians themselves have taken a cut of only 30 per cent 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 per cent on our gross emoluments,” the letter said.
The Aviation industry in India is firmly on the rebound with domestic air traffic increasing substantially from 25 per cent in April 2020 to 80 per cent as of December 2020, a fact acknowledged by other airlines who have started rolling back their austerity measures significantly. “In contrast, our management is content hiding behind the Covid-19 pandemic and Ministry of Civil Aviation,” they added.
“This pittance in the form of a 5 per cent 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 approximately 3 per cent in the current gross pay cut for pilots,” they said.
“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 per cent 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,” pilots said.