Saturday, April 04, 2020

Air India pilot unions oppose 10% cut in employees' allowances

State-owned Air India's pilot unions on Friday opposed the 10 percent cut in employees' allowances, terming the decision as "unequal" and that goes against the spirit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the companies to ensure that the salaries of the employees are not slashed amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a joint letter to Air India chief Rajiv Bansal on Friday, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said the reduction in allowance was against the labour and employment ministry's advisory to all employers of public or private establishments not to terminate their employees or reduce their wages.

"We, the flying crew of Air India feel, immensely let down by the self-serving approach of the Executive Management Committee in the name of cost cutting measures. The committee has completely disregarded the appeal made by the prime minister and the advisory from the labour and employment ministry," the pilot unions said.
Two days after Modi's appeal during his televised address to the nation on imposition of a 21-day lockdown to curb spread of the coranvirus infection, to companies not to cut employees salaries (due to the lockdown), Air India decided to reduce 10 percent of allowances paid to all employees, except cabin crew, for a period of three months to tide over the economic fallout of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. The reduction, however, did not impact the basic pay, house rent allowance and variable dearness allowance.

On March 18, the airline had decided to withdraw special allowance to pilots while revising downward the layover allowance for cabin crew. Significantly, flying allowance accounts for as much as 70 percent in a pilots' salaries.
"By effecting a 10 percent cut in allowances for all employees, the category that has been affected the most are pilots. Flying-related allowances of pilots' wages allowances constitute to 70 percent of the gross emoluments.

"By affecting a cut only on allowances, the directors and senior management executives have deviously exempted themselves from any meaningful austerity cut as their allowances are extremely small while pilots and cabin crew who are the frontline warriors flying and risking their lives, are forced to bear the maximum cut," the unions said in the letter.
03/04/20 PTI/
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