Air India pilots to meet Aviation Secy before taking call on ‘industrial action’
Air India pilots, who had warned the management of a strike, have decided to meet Rajiv Bansal, aviation secretary (also their chairman and managing director) once before announcing their decision of going on a strike. The Air India pilots have warned the airline of ‘Industrial Action’ if their pay-cuts and arrears are not duly paid before Air India is handed over to the new owner.
Indian Pilots’ Guild (the airline’s Boeing pilots’ union) on Sunday tweeted, “Talks with management along with @PilotsIndian regarding 60% pay cut only for Licenced employees, inconclusive. Meeting management (CMD/SECY MOCA) tomorrow to find a peaceful resolve. @MoCA_GoI @TataCompanies@RNTata2000#peacefulresolution."
Air India pilots had, on November 29, given an ultimatum of three days to the Air India management to meet their demands. In a letter to Bansal, sent on Monday evening, the pilots had warned that if they do not see the illegal pay cut and related issues being addressed within three days, they will seek justice through industrial action.
The letter was written by the airline’s Airbus’ union- Indian Commercial Pilots’ Guild (ICPA) and Boeing pilots union- Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) which represent over 900 pilots.
Post this, the management reached out to the pilots and had a meeting with them.
These pilots had been writing to the airline since October but they haven’t received any reply.
In their previous letters, the pilots complained that they are burdened by the “illegal pay cut” of 55% and demanded to be paid as per market standards. Mentioning their long-standing disinvestment issues, the pilots have also demanded the withheld 25% arrears with interest, statement of gratuity, an option of leave encashment, medical benefits for all permanent employees, tax implication on withheld layover substance allowance and release of pending grades to first officers.
Senior Air India pilots, however, said that the meeting with representatives from both the pilot groups on December 3 was inconclusive. “The management was informed that we are aware of Air India’s revenues going back to pre Covid-19 levels and that most pilots are working more than they did pre Covid-19. The management asked us to hold on till the takeover. However, both unions warned of serious consequences if the issued was not solved,” said a senior pilot.
“We are firm with our decision of industrial action. We are meeting our CMD with the hope that he will have a definite solution to our issues. We sincerely hope that the airline doesn’t force us to take an extreme decision,” said another senior pilot who did not wished to be named.