Air India pilots seek a meeting with civil aviation minister; Indigo announces second pay cut
After running a campaign against its management on social media, Air India pilots on Monday wrote to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, requesting for an urgent meeting to discuss their grievances.
Alleging that the officials briefing Puri have “grossly misinformed” him, as the pay cuts in the airline are not across the board, the letter read, “The current industry standard in India is a cut of 15-23% on gross salary i.e. cost to company. However, the Air India management is trying to show cost cutting by slashing cherry picked allowances instead of a fair cut on gross wages (the true cost to company of an employee). They have safeguarded their perks, privileges and entitlements while shifting extreme financial burden on the pilots.’’
Despite repeated attempts, Air India spokesperson did not respond to HT’s calls.
The pilots also said that the imbalance in the pay cuts, which were part of a “deliberate and unethical agenda of creating industrial disharmony, reeks of a vested interest and a conspiracy to sabotage the national carrier and derail the privatisation process”.
Around 1,800 pilots and more than 2,000 cabin crew members are employed with the national carrier.
“We feel that the top management is not aligned with the PMO’s [Prime Minister’s Office] vision of privatisation. They are trying to create unrest and disharmony among employees. The pay cut is not uniform across board, and nowhere close to the market standard,” a senior Air India pilot said.
He also claimed that the pilots have written to the aviation minister based on the figures and evidences they have. “Instead of applying genuine cost-saving measures, the top bosses are trying to avoid any pay cuts for themselves, while still retaining their perks such as luxury club memberships, free cars, petrol etc. We would like to connect with the honourable minister directly to apprise him of the matter and also give some real cost-saving suggestions to help the company,” the pilot added.
Meanwhile in an internal email, IndiGo, India’s largest airline by market share, announced a second round of pay cuts.
The airline’s spokesperson did not respond to HT calls for a comment on the issue.
However, HT has accessed the email, in which the airline’s chief executive officer (CEO) Ronojoy Dutta said that the step had to be taken to adjust the airline’s cost structure to the decline in revenues. While Dutta announced a 35% pay cut for himself, the salaries of the senior vice-presidents of the airline will be reduced to 25%, while those of associate vice-presidents to 15%. The pilots will lose 28% of their salaries.
Moreover, each department of the airline has been asked to make a monthly decision on the number of employees to be sent on leave without pay. Recently, the airline had also announced to lay off 10% of its employees.
In May, IndiGo had announced a pay cut ranging between 5% and 25% till the end of the 2020-21 financial year. The airline had also implemented leave without pay for employees ranging from one-and-a-half days to five days.