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Is it fair to deny pilots their livelihood due to an occupational hazard, ask Air India Pilot Unions

Of the two Air India Pilot Unions who have written to the Minister, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) represents the pilots flying Air India's narrow-body aircraft, while the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) operate wide-body aircraft pilots of the national carrier

The other airlines are rolling back the austerity pay cuts for their pilots, wrote Air India Pilot Unions while Air India has increased wage-cut
The other airlines are rolling back the austerity pay cuts for their pilots, wrote Air India Pilot Unions while Air India has increased wage-cut
  • Air India pilot unions IPG and ICPA have written a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri seeking his intervention on wage cut issue due to COVID-19

  • The other airlines are rolling back the austerity pay cuts for their pilots, wrote Air India Pilot Unions while Air India has increased wage-cut

New Delhi: (Aviation News) Air India pilot unions IPG and ICPA have written a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri seeking his intervention on wage cut issue due to COVID-19. The Air India pilot unions also requested an "urgent" meeting with him on several other issues. "In our meetings in September, you had given us an assurance to look into our grievances positively. While other airlines are rolling back the austerity pay cuts for their pilots, the wage cut for Air India pilots further increased from October. "This is completely divorced from market reality and equally unfair to pilots of Air India and its subsidiaries," the pilot unions stated in the joint letter addressed to the Civil Aviation Minister.

The unions wrote that the pilots of Air India and its two subsidiary airlines, Air India Express and Alliance Air, continue to get reduced wages, up to 70 percent lower of their normal wages. "Through our representations and meetings, we have shown you how Air India management''s cost-cutting (move) is malafide and disproportionate and does not have any semblance to the aviation industry standards," noted the letter.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) represents the pilots flying Air India's narrow-body aircraft, while the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) represents those who operate wide-body aircraft of the national carrier.

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Stating that even the parliamentarians' salaries have been "reduced by 30 per cent for a period of one year" to meet the exigencies arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unions wrote, "even at the highest strata, there is a clear recognition of reasonable time-bound austerity measures across the board to compensate for the disruption due to the lockdown". 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 by others, stated the letter.

Also, pilots who test positive for COVID-19 need to undergo quarantine and hospitalisation. This has to be followed by a no-objection certified, mandatory medical checks and DGCA approval. The entire process to get back to flying takes more than a month, the IPG-ICPA said in the letter.

"Is it fair to deny these pilots their livelihood due to an occupational hazard? Is this how MoCA (ministry of civil aviation) wants to treat the workmen who are making the Vande Bharat Flights possible?," the unions asked in the letter. Alleging that the airline top management has let the pilots "down tremendously", the IPG-ICPA said, "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," the letter concluded.

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