New Delhi: They are
on a flash strike since Tuesday midnight, demanding better pay and
work conditions, causing inconvenience to thousands of passengers.
But the pay and allowances of these former Indian Airlines pilots
are not paltry either.
According to a spokesperson for the National Aviation Company of
India Ltd, co-pilots of Indian Airlines, now co-opted into the
merger Air India, earn as much as Rs.225,000 to Rs.325,000 per
month, while a commander draws between Rs.400,000 and Rs.500,000.
These pilots want the pay and allowances given to their
counterparts in Air India, who earn around Rs.150,000 to
Rs.200,000 more, because of higher perquisites -- which now
includes outstation allowance -- that accrue due to international
"The pay and allowances which the former Indian Airlines pilots
and co-pilots draw is at par with international standards," said
Amber Dubey, director for aerospace and defence, with the global
"If these emoluments are seen in terms of purchasing power parity,
the Indian pilots may, in fact, be better off," Dubey told IANS.
The management says the government has already named an expert
committee under a retired Supreme Court judge, Justice C.S.
Dharamadhikari, to examine employee issues such as pay parity
between the staff of the two airlines. This panel started work
Therefore, till the compensation is harmonised, the employees of
both the carriers would continue to draw their salaries and
allowances based on the settlement signed with their respective
unions. "The strike, therefore, is not legal," the airline said.
But the Indian Commercial Pilots Association that has given the
strike call, disagrees.
"We have tried everything possible to avert this strike. But the
management has left us with no alternative. We want the government
to act. We gave our notice on Feb 22 and regret nothing has
happened," said association general secretary Capt. Rishab Kapoor.
"We want the mismanagement to end. We are sorry to passengers. We
have no other option."
These pilots also claim that salaries to them, as opposed to those
with Air India, are also delayed, even as the arrears have been
pending since 2007. They also say that some long-haul flights have
been cancelled, resulting in lower allowances.
(Rohit Vaid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)