Air India pilots call on aviation minister to settle outstanding salary arrears
NEW DELHI : Pilots at the national carrier Air India Ltd have called on the government to clear their long-standing wage arrears before the completion of the national carrier’s privatization process, which the government hopes to complete before the end of the current fiscal year.
In a letter dated July 15 to recently appointed Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG), comprising more than 500 pilots flying wide-body aircraft for the airline, asked the minister to initiate payment of arrears at the earliest.
“In January 2013, Air India management reduced staff salaries by 25% on an ad hoc basis amid deteriorating financial conditions. We continued to support this ad hoc pay cut, with the understanding that the arrears would be cleared shortly, ”said IPG. in the letter.
Former Air India Chairman Ashwani Lohani in his 2015 letter to employees said management is absolutely clear that this pending amount belongs to employees and therefore should be paid back. Earlier this year , then Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told media (that) employee contributions with arrears will be paid by Air India’s asset holding company before the deal closes proposed, ”the letter says.
“As the privatization of Air India Ltd appears to have reached its final stage, we look to you to honor these assurances of payment of our long-standing arrears,” he added.
A copy of the letter has been reviewed by mint.
An Air India spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
The Tata group has become one of the main candidates to acquire the national carrier from the government. According to reports, the salt-to-software conglomerate has hired consultants Bain and Company and Seabury Group to conduct a due diligence on Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express.
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