Eight employees’ unions of Air India on Friday requested Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to ask the airline to roll back its Covid-19 lockdown-triggered decision to cut 10 percent pay of its employees.
Air India rased the demand, while commending the IndiGo’s decision on Thursday to roll back pay cuts, which were announced last month for senior staff members, for the month of April in deference to the government’s wishes.
The joint letter by eight AI employees’ unions to Puri on Friday stated, “We request you to countermand Air India committee’s decision on Covid-19 pay cut which is against the government’s directives and also treat us at par with other PSUs (public sector units) during the lockdown.”
Air India has decided to cut salaries of all employees by 10 per cent for three months.
On March 23, the Modi government had asked public and private sector companies not to cut salaries or lay off employees amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
“This pay cut by Air India is mere optics, unnecessary and will hit the morale of the employees which will have a cascading effect on the Indian economy,” the unions’ letter stated.
“In spite of instructions from the Government of India concerning the welfare of the employees and directions to make payment of wages on due date, the management of Air India defaulted on timely payment of salary which was paid on 18th April, 2020, with a 10 per cent pay cut,” it stated.
The flying crew are yet to receive 70 per cent of their wages for the work done in the month of February, the letter added.
As India has been under a lockdown since March 25 to curb the coronavirus pandemic spread, all commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period. Consequently, revenues of aviation sector companies have been hit hard.
“We admire the decision by the top management of a private airline not to implement the previously announced pay cuts in deference to the government’s wishes of not reducing pay during the lockdown,” the letter noted.
While IndiGo had announced on March 19 that it is cutting salaries of senior employees by up to 25 per cent, the budget carrier rolled it back on Thursday for the month of April “in deference to our government’s wishes”. However, the private airline clarified that few senior employees — the members of the Executive Committee and senior vice presidents — have voluntarily taken the pay cut in April.
While a private airline is honouring the directions of the government, it is of “great consequence for Air India to follow suit and also lead by example”, the letter by Air India unions stated.
Any pay cut with regards to Covid-19 lockdown has to be voluntary in nature as followed by the senior management of the private airline, the letter noted.
The eight unions that wrote to Puri are: Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, Indian Pilots’ Guild, Air Corporations Employees’ Union, All India Cabin Crew Association, All India Aircraft Engineers’ Association, Air India Employees’ Union, All India Aircraft Engineers’ Association and Indian Aircraft Technicians’ Association.