The largest pilots union of Air India
has committed its support for privatisation
provided the government takes steps to clear their pending salaries.
In a letter addressed to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and marked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association
(ICPA) made an appeal to clear their flying allowances and other payables to the pilots before transfer of ownership. “Through this letter we make a humble request to issue orders for release of our illegally withheld 25 per cent flying allowance and related allowances before privatisation
so that the new management can start with clean financial statements,” Praveen Keerthi, general secretary of ICPA
wrote on Wednesday. ICPA
is the union of Air India’s narrowbody pilots mainly flying on domestic routes.
In January 2013, the Air India
management slashed staff salaries by 25 per cent on an ad hoc basis amid worsening financial conditions. The salary
cut was undertaken before the implementation of the Dharmadhikari Committee report and employee unions' challenged the salary
cut as it was done without a notice. The matter is now pending before the Supreme Court.
accepted the revised pay scales in 2016 and 25 per cent pay cut was restored. But arrears of the prior period are still pending. The Indian Pilots Guild and a majority of cabin crew are yet to accept the revised pay scale and still receive 75 per cent of emoluments.
The letter states that previous CMD Ashwani Lohani had given assurance in November 2015 that the withheld allowances will be released but no further action was taken. In January 2016, Air India
implemented a new salary
structure for pilots but ICPA
mentions that only a handful of pilots got the benefit.
“As owner of the airline, Government of India is fully liable to for this payment. The transfer of ownership can take place only with clean financial statements only when all dues are cleared by Air India
Ltd or its owner Govt of India,” the letter stated.