Air India pilots find pay cuts unfair, offer suggestions

The pilots are not happy with the 10% pay cut imposed across all levels, and feel that Class IV employees should be excluded from paycuts altogether, while the senior management should face the maximum brunt

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The pilots of Air India have expressed their displeasure at the unfair pay cuts imposed across the board. In a letter to Rajeev Bansal, chairman, Air India, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association and the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) have suggested ways in which the Airline can overcome the financial crisis it is facing today.

The 10 per cent pay cut across the board is clearly not acceptable to the employees, as it seems to be rather unfair. According to the letter, with this kind of cut the Class IV employees suffer the most, whereas the senior employees at the higher levels hardly feel any pinch, as their salaries are much higher. The letter suggests that Class IV employees be excluded from any pay cuts and that pay cuts should be imposed based on the employees’ remuneration and position in the hierarchy, so that the financial load is spread across the workforce in a fair manner.

The letter states that Air India should learn from other airlines who are adopting various measures to handle the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, with a much leaner workforce catering to much larger fleets than Air India’s. The letter cited the example of an airline which has a workforce of 250 in the finance department and 130 in the human resources department looking after a crew handling a huge fleet of over 250 planes. On the other hand, Air India, which has only 125 aircraft to cater to, has a total strength of 1600 employees in its HR and finance departments, which shows that it has more resources than required.  Clearly, it is time to trim Air India’s workforce, especially at the back end.

The associations feel that sending the employees on mandatory leave without pay until operations return to normal is one of the ideal measures for these times. With planes being underutilised, this is also the right time to aim for a leaner workforce.

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