Air India pilots have urged the government to release urgent funds to support the ailing national carrier, at least till the privatisation process is complete.
Air India’s key staff members have not got salaries for the past three months. (Photo: Reuters)
Two airline pilot bodies have penned a joint letter to the government highlighting that Air India employees have not got salaries for the past three months.
The joint letter by Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) and Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) said the national carrier has been instrumental in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and has lent its resources and manpower to government from the very beginning.
However, the letter highlighted how Air India crew members including pilots are only getting “lip service” and no salaries.
“The Air India management has not taken to paying wages on time seriously for a long time, but as of today, we have a backlog of 3 months, having not gotten wages since February,” the letter by the pilots’ association highlighted.
“This is well before the coronavirus crisis began so reduced cash flow cannot be used as an excuse. Even our basic salary, which is a fraction of our wages, has not been released,” the letter read.
Further criticising the Air India management, it said, “The management has completely given up saying there is no money and has no plans on when and how they can pay our wages without government support.”
“This is the ground reality today as we are now poised to embark once again upon one of the biggest evacuations in world history aiming to bring stranded Indians back home.”
The pilots also highlighted how Air India has been in a debt trap due to historic management snags and added that urgent government support is needed to clear the backlog of wages, which continue to grow.
“We, therefore, request you to infuse desperately needed funds into the national carrier to sustain operations at least till the time privatisation is complete,” the letter added.
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