The pilots of Air India have been complaining about the payment issues for a while now and it doesn’t look like things are getting any better. In the recent development of events, around 900 pilots who represent their two unions Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) have set off the warning for ‘industrial action’ if the payment issues are not resolved soon. The pilots have been protesting against the fact that their salaries have been slacked off by around 60%.
The Demands by the Protesting Pilots
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. The protesting pilots also said that the management has had enough time to figure out things and resolve the issue.
One of the protesting pilots said in a statement that the shareholder’s agreement has already been signed and Tata Group is going to begin full-fledged operations by January 22, 2022. He said that service conditions are already being adversely changed and the management’s silence amidst this chaos about the service conditions of the pilots and arrears is deafening.
What makes it more unjust for the Air India pilots is the fact around 60% of their salaries were slacked in the light of the pandemic. Despite this fact, the pilots continued to work with the airline without any complaints and let the operations go on smoothly. So now as the aviation industry seems to be at the stage where they were pre-covid with passengers traffic increasing continuously, it’s about time that Air India pilots received a just pay as well.