"Our Patience Is Running Thin," Air India Pilots' Union Writes To Govt Over Unpaid Wages

26 Dec 2019 10:19 AM GMT
Our Patience Is Running Thin, Air India Pilots Union Writes To Govt Over Unpaid Wages
Image Credit: Tamil Samayam

Raising concerns over unpaid dues, an Air India pilots’ union has urged the government to permit their colleagues to quit the debt-laden carrier without serving the notice period.

As the government is looking for ways to sell the national carrier, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) has warned that they are in no position to work amid uncertainty over the airline’s future.

The union represents about 800 Air India pilots. They have written a letter to Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri regarding their dues. “Your statement that if Air India is not privatised by 31 March 2020 then Air India will be shut down, is a matter of concern,” the letter reads.

Citing the uncertainty over the airline’s future, the union asked the minister to ensure that they are not treated like bonded labour. “Allow us to quit Air India without serving the notice period and clear all our dues immediately”. The notice period in the airline is 6 month.

Air India has a debt burden of more than Rs 58,000 crore.

In a warning, the ICPA said, “our patience is running thin and we are in no position to continue working with uncertainty looming large at Air India”.

“We do not want to face the same fate as other employees of 21 private carriers that have shut down and further add to the rising unemployment in India,” the letter, dated December 23, read. According to the letter, the employees are yet to receive the flying allowance for the month of October.

“We have been living with uncertainty for the past 2 -3 years, and as a result, many employees have defaulted on their loan and other payments. This has greatly affected our livelihood and our families,” it added.

Sale Of National Carrier

Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation, two debt-ridden state-owned companies, are expected to be sold by the government by March next year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in an interview with The Times of India.

Air India posted an operating loss of around Rs. 4,600 crore in the last financial year due to higher oil prices and forex losses. Around 120 Airbus A-320 pilots resigned after their long-pending demand pertaining to the salary hike remain unmet.

The privatisation of the national carrier and oil refiner is expected to help the government meet its divestment target of Rs 1 lakh crore in the current fiscal year.

Also Read: Air India Pilots Resign En-Mass, Questioning Promotion & Salary Hike

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