In a letter to the Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal, the pilots have strongly criticised the discrepancy in the proposed pay cuts where the top management is reportedly taking a 3.5% cut, compared to 60% pay cuts for pilots.
The pilots have described the proposal as 'humiliating' and 'hilarious', and questioned the disparity in pay cut, and stated that it seemed nowhere at par with market standards. The proposed 60% cut for the pilots include all gross emoluments, while the top management's meagre 3.5% cut is from its own gross salary.
"For e.g. the Director Personnel takes a minuscule cut of 4% on gross pay while a Co-pilot, who is paid less than the market, is given a cut of 60%. How is this justified? Doesn't this amount to unchecked greed and selfishness?" the letter read.
The proposal comes at a time when the pilots have not received 70% of their salaries since April amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As of now, 55 pilots have tested COVID-19 positive. The letter also raises questions about how fair it is to penalize these pilots by paying them only on the basis of flying hours, when they contracted the infection while on duty. "Is this how the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) wants to honour front-line workers?"
Expressing their displeasure, the pilots mentioned that they would want to return all the appreciation letters given to them by the Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their service during the pandemic if this is the treatment for the front-line workers the MoCA and the Civil Aviation Ministry have resorted to.
They have also sought time with Puri to discuss the proposal. Nevertheless, the pilots will continue to serve the airline and the nation in this time of need, the lead further read.
On Wednesday, Air India approved a scheme for sending non- performing members on compulsory leave without pay (LWP), ranging from six months to up to five years, depending upon the following factors – suitability, efficiency, competence, quality of performance, the health of the employee and unavailability as a result of ill-health.
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