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HomeNews'Deserve respect': Air India pilots write to Tata Group in support of...

‘Deserve respect’: Air India pilots write to Tata Group in support of their Vistara counterparts

MUMBAI: The concerns expressed by the

Vistara pilots

are not isolated incidents but rather indicative of systemic issues that extend across various

Tata Group

,

Air India pilots

said in a letter sent to theTata Group chairman on Thursday. They brought to the fore problems they have been facing with the Air India HR department as well, such as the use of threats against pilots and coercive tactics.

Pilots who feel threatened or intimidated may be reluctant to report safety concerns or speak up about issues that could impact flight operations, said the letter sent jointly by the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (

ICPA

) and the

Indian Pilots’ Guild

(IPG).
In the past four days, Vistara pilots have been in a stand-off with the airline management to protect their

salary structure

, improved working conditions and a stable roster. Vistara has been forced to cancel a total of 155 flights so far between March 31 and April 3, according to

aviation data firm

, Cirium. Vistara is in the process of merging with Air India. Last month, the Tata Group adopted Air India’s pay structure, which is based on a minimum assured pay of 40 hours of flying. Vistara’s pay structure has a minimum assured pay of 70 hours.
“The pilots of Vistara have been steadfast in their advocacy for fixed 70 hours compensation, improved working conditions, and stable roster. After thorough assessment and consultation, we firmly believe that their demands are not only reasonable but also reflective of broader challenges prevalent within Tata Group airlines,” said the letter sent by ICPA and IPG. “The issues of 70 hours fixed remuneration, approval of leaves, adequate rest periods, unstable roster, stretching pilots to max flight duty, botched roster practices and an unsupportive work environment are consistently echoed by pilots across different Tata Group airlines,” the letter said, adding that the concerns expressed by the Vistara pilots are not isolated incidents but rather indicative of systemic issues that extend across various Tata Group aviation entities.
“We believe that every pilot deserves to be valued, respected, and provided with the necessary support to excel in their profession. Pilots are being subjected to conditions and treatment reminiscent of bonded laborers. There have been instances where HR has resorted to threatening pilots with potential disruptions to their future, accompanied by severe consequences,” the letter said. “Threatening pilots with disruptions to their future is not only unethical but also creates a hostile and intimidating work environment. It is deeply concerning that HR, which should serve as a support system for employees, is resorting to such coercive tactics. This behavior not only erodes trust in HR but also undermines morale and employee loyalty. Furthermore, such threats can have serious consequences for the safety and efficiency of our operations. Pilots who feel threatened or intimidated may be reluctant to report safety concerns or speak up about issues that could impact flight operations. This poses a significant risk to the safety of our passengers and crew members and should not be taken lightly,” the letter said.
Pilots, who are entrusted with the responsibility of safely transporting passengers and cargo, deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. However, it is distressing to witness instances where pilots are being exploited, overworked and deprived of their basic rights across Tata Group Airlines. Furthermore, we urge Tata Group leadership to engage in constructive dialogue with the pilot community, listen attentively to their feedback and take proactive measures to address their legitimate grievances. By addressing the concerns raised by the Vistara pilots, Tata Group can demonstrate its commitment to fostering a culture of fairness, transparency and employee welfare across all its aviation ventures, which is missing at the moment, the pilots said, making an appeal for “upholding the values of fairness and integrity that define Tata Group.”

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