Air India crashes its employees' lives - Sky Today
The non-payment of salaries of those working in the national carrier’s B and C grades is hurting them even more than the pilots
While the plight of pilots working for Air India and how they are threatening to go on a strike if their dues are not paid on time is wellknown, that of the thousands who work in the B and C class and who have been suffering as much, has hardly garnered much attention.
According to some of the employees spoken with, they earn less than 10 times the salary an Air India pilot draws and many have gone without a salary for the last five months. An Air India employee attached with the Mumbai cargo division claimed that a gag order has been served on all employees. “Eight years ago, I started with a salary of Rs 10,000 and now I earn Rs 19,000.
I have not got my salary for the past two months, and my productivity-linked incentive (PLI), which accounts for half of what I earn as salary has been pending for the last five months. Staff in our employee category is scared and cannot challenge the top management, like the pilots do.” The employee says he has now started spending from his savings and borrowing from relatives.
Another employee spoken with, claims his situation is even worse. This Air India loader at the domestic airport reportedly earns a salary of Rs 18,000, but ever since he has stopped receiving it, he has been unable to pay even his children’s school fees. “A major portion of my salary goes to tuition fees for two of my kids. Due to the pending salaries, I have not been able to pay my children’s tuition fees for the past two months. Now, I have even started receiving notices from the school.”
However, unlike Air India, other airlines like Jet Airways and Kingfisher, which have also reported large losses and have been struggling to pay its employees, are paying those in the lower pay slab on time. While, the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India Rohit Nandan could not be contacted for a comment, a senior official at Air India confirmed that salaries of staffs in the B and C grades have been pending for the last two months. The PLI, on the other hand, is pending for more than four months, the source claimed.
Descending fortunes The national carrier employs more than 42,000 people and has a fleet of more than 100 aircrafts. Around 4,400 cabin crewmembers and 2,000 pilots work with the airline. The airline has incurred a cumulative loss of over Rs 13,300 crore since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007.