Hardeep Singh Puri
Hardeep Singh Puri
Hardeep Singh Puri/ Twitter

New Delhi: National carrier Air India's pilot unions have alleged that the airline's management under the guidance of the Centre plans to institute a 60 per cent pay cut on a retrospective basis. The Indian Commercial Pilots' Association and the Indian Pilots' Guild have written to the the airline's CMD Rajiv Bansal, which was reviewed by IANS, saying: "The proposed cut for pilots is almost 60 per cent of gross emoluments. It is hilarious to note that the top management has proposed a meagre 3.5% cut on its own gross salary."

"... The 'Director Personnel' takes a minuscule cut of 4 per cent on gross pay while a Co-pilot who is paid less than the market is given a cut of 60 per cent. How is this justifi­ed? Doesn't this mount to un­ch­ecked greed and selfishness?"

The letters dated July 16, refers to a series of meetings held with the airlines management and ministry officials. Both the unions said that they have expressed willingness to negotiate a pay cut in line with the current market conditions.

Cost cutting need of hour, says Minister: Pumping in Rs 500-600 crore every year is not sustainable and cost-cutting in Air India is necessary, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday, justifying the national carrier's decision to send certain employees on leave without pay for up to five years. The minister's remarks came after TMC MP Derek O'Brien slammed Air India, saying its leave-without-pay scheme violates labour laws and is an "obvious ploy" to protect the top management and sacrifice other workers.

Meanwhile, the Congress and CPI also latched on to the issue to demand rollback of the policy.

"Everybody has to cut costs. That is what is happening here," said Puri. Even if Air India wants help from the government, it may not be possible as the Centre has to use resources to provide relief to the vulnerable sections of the society amid the coronavirus pandemic, said the minister.

60% of domestic flights by

Diwali, says Minister: More than half of pre-Covid domestic flights could be in operation by Diwali, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday. After nearly two months of suspension, the government had allowed 33% of scheduled domestic passenger flights on May 25 before raising it to 45% on June 26. "We are assuming that by the time Diwali comes this year, we would have 55-60% of pre-COVID domestic flights operating in India," said Puri. I had imagined we would reach 33% of our domestic capacity by July 15 but we have not, he added.

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