New Delhi [India], May 8 (ANI): India Commercial Pilot Association (ICPA) and Indian Pilots' Guild have jointly written a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri regarding financial support and stated that Air India employees have not been paid wages since February.
The association said that Air India has been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19 and has lent its resources as well as manpower to support the government initiatives and policies to deal with the pandemic.
"The public recognition by the Prime Minister's office of these efforts served as tremendous morale boosters to all of us but equally importantly, the safeguarding of wages assured by the Hon'ble Home Secretary in his capacity as Chairman of the National Executive Committee under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, reaffirmed that the Government intended to take care of its people," read the letter.
"This sentiment has been expressed multiple times, both directly by the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi as well as other government agencies, both verbally as well as through legislation, as a crucial step to empower the nation to overcome this crisis. In Air India however, its only being paid lip service and the harsh reality compels us to write to you," it said.
According to the letter, "The Air India management has not taken paying wages on time seriously for a long time, but as of today, we have a wage backlog of 3 months, having not been paid full wages since February. 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 is not released on time," read the letter.
The pilot association claimed that the management has completely given up saying there is no money and has no plans on when and how they can pay 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 back stranded Indians back home. The meagre revenue generated by these 64 evacuation flights allotted to Air India is not enough to overcome the company's financial woes. Sir, as you are well aware, Air India has been in a debt trap due to historic mismanagement," the letter said.
The association further stated that the without urgent Government financial support and with the indifferent management at the helm, the backlog of their wages will continue to grow.
"This situation is simply not sustainable for the National Carrier. Denial of basic resources for taking care of our families and those depending on us is inexorably leading us to a breaking point. We, therefore, request your urgent action to infuse desperately needed funds into the National Carrier, Air India at least till such time the privatization is complete so that we may sustain operations and continue to serve the Nation. This will also ensure the employees maintain their livelihoods," read the letter. (ANI)