Clear our dues before selling Air India, says pilots union
With reports about Air India’s (AI) privatisation doing the rounds again, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), the union of pilots operating the wide-body Boeing fleet of AI, has demanded that their dues and arrears since 2012 be cleared before going ahead with any such plan.
The IPG said its members have been receiving 25% cut in their salary following the department of public enterprises (DPE) guidelines issued in August 2012. The salary cut was withdrawn in November 2018, which means pilots have to be paid arrears from September 2012. In a letter written on Monday to Ashwani Lohani, chairman and managing director, Air India, the pilots guild demanded their arrears due to each pilot since 2012, with interest at a commercial rate.
Despite repeated attempts, Air India’s spokesperson was not available for comment.
The union said one of the preconditions for the success of the disinvestment process is the protection of legitimate rights and interests of the employees and that prospective buyers of the airline should be made aware of the liabilities of the company due to the employees.
“AI had to restructure the wages of the IPG as per the recommendation of Justice Dharmadhikari committee (set up in 2012) in November 2018 resulting in arrears from September 2012,” explained a senior pilot. “The management is also yet to pay pending flying allowance difference for six months (January to June 2007), which should be paid to us with interest,” he added.
The letter further said, “Not only were we subjected to this unilateral and illegal 25% cut but to add insult to injury, since January 2019 our wage package has been unilaterally reduced compared with our full entitlement as per the last settlement of 2006, which is under legal challenge... before the CGIT (Central Government Industrial Tribunal), Mumbai.”