Don’t take part in Air India’s strategic sales: Pilots’ unions to employees

Two Air India pilots’ unions on Saturday asked its members not to be part of the employee consortium to bid for the airline. The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (IPCA) and the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) pointed to a letter by Air India’s commercial director, Meenakshi Malik, asking the airline’s employees to submit documents and contribute Rs 100,000 each towards acquiring 51% of the company. The unions asked them to not acknowledge Malik’s letter until the issue of pay cuts and withholding of 25% arrear is cleared by the top management.

“In this regard all pilots are advised NOT TO acknowledge or participate in the process initiated by the management official till the disproportionate 70% Pay Cut for Pilots vis-à-vis Air India’s top Management officials (10%) is addressed,” they said in a joint circular.

“Also, there is No clarity on the payment of the illegally withheld 25% arrears due to the pilots to date whilst we approach the deadline of December 14th for submission of bids for Air India. While other major airlines in India have revised the pay cut for its pilots, Air India being a government owned PSU is yet to address the ordeal faced by us. We would like to once again re-iterate NOT TO take any part in the process of Employee bids in the strategic sale initiated by the top management official till further communication from us,” they added.

“In our meetings in September, you had given us an assurance to look into our grievances positively. While other airlines are rolling back the austerity pay cuts for their pilots, the wage cut for Air India pilots further increased from October. This is completely divorced from market reality and equally unfair to pilots of Air India and its subsidiaries,” the pilots’ unions said in their letter to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

The pilots’ bodies wanted to hold a meeting with the minister to discuss the austerity measures brought by Air India’s top management.

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