As the events related to the ongoing struggle of Air India pilots further unfold, in a recent development, the Air India pilots have announced on Sunday that a meeting has been scheduled with the aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal on Monday who also happens to be the chairman and managing director of the airline to discuss the demands of their payment clearance before the association takes any decision of going on a strike. The airline will soon be taken over by its new owner and the pilots want a resolution before the transition of ownership.
Air India Pilots Firm on Taking Industrial Actions
As reported earlier, on November 29, Air India pilots had issued an ultimatum to the management of the airline to take adequate actions regarding their pay cuts and arrears before the takeover happens and warned of severe industrial action if a resolution is not achieved. This letter was issued by the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) and the Indian Pilots’ Guild that represent over 900 pilots combined.
The issue has been going on for quite some time now as this wasn’t the first time a letter was issued. Air India Pilots have already written a number of letters and protests have also taken place. Last month, A letter was issued to the management by Air India pilots regarding restoration of their payment according to the industry level before the airline is handed over to the Tata Group who have acquired the entity and are the new owners of the airline. In the issued letter, pilots also mentioned various other demands such as 25% arrears along with interest, a statement of gratuity, an option of leave encashment, medical benefits for permanent employees, tax-related implications of withheld layover substance allowance, and the release of pending grades to first officers.
A senior pilot of Air India requesting to be anonymous said that the guild is firm on their decision of industrial action. He added that they will have a meeting with the aviation secretary in a hope that he will have a definite solution to the prolonged issue. He also said that the pilots’ association hopes that the airline doesn’t force them into taking extreme actions.
The senior officials from Air India talked about the meeting held on December 3 with representatives of both the pilots’ group and how nothing conclusive came out of it. A senior pilot said on the issue that the pilots’ group had informed the management of the fact that they are aware of Air India’s revenue going back to pre-covid levels and that most of the pilots are working more than that of pre-covid. He further told that the management asked to hold on to the issue till the takeover. He also informed that both the pilots’ groups have warned of actions if the problem is not resolved.