With Diwali just a day away, a section of Air India pilots has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention to get their pending dues from the loss making airline.
In a letter sent to the PM on Sunday, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), one of the two Air India pilots’ unions, claimed that a significant portion of their salaries had been pending for the past four months.
Also, 80% of their October salary, which comprises performance-linked incentive (PLI) allowance, is also pending.
“Diwali is the most important Indian festival, but our lives are in darkness,” said an ICPA member requesting anonymity.
The pilot body assured the PM that their poor financial conditions would not affect their work. “We would continue to strive with smiles on our faces to make passengers feel at home, but our families are suffering on this joyous occasion when the rest of the country is celebrating,” the letter said. Copies of the letter were also sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi.
ICPA sources said the union decided to approach the PM because the management and the civil aviation minister had turned a deaf ear. “You [ PM] are the last hope for AI employees,” it said.
Sources said the airline had been ignoring the union’s demands after it was de-recognised following a 10-day strike in April. The Air India spokesperson did not respond to calls, message and email sent to them.