india

Air India employees move HC over pay cut

They say it violates Centre’s directive

Air India employees have moved the Bombay High Court against the national carrier’s 10% salary cut, stating the deduction was a blatant violation of the Central government’s directive that asked employers not to make any salary cuts during the pandemic.

Three employee unions, the Air India Aircraft Engineers’ Association, All India Service Engineers Association and the Indian Pilots Guild, moved the HC on Thursday stating Air India had announced a three-month salary cut on March 20, 2020, for all employees, except cabin crew, because of COVID-19.

The petition said, “It is in blatant violation of the directives issued by the Government of India, especially the government order dated 29 March 2020, prohibiting employers from making any pay cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, regardless of whether or not establishments are operational.”

The petition said the cut, which was made in the allowances package, was significant considering allowances form a major part of the pay structure, and in some cases, exceed 60% of the monthly salary.

The salary cuts for March 2020 came as a shock for many employees as they had worked for 24 days during the month, before the national lockdown was imposed, the petition said.

Considering employees are willing to work, employers are bound to pay their monthly wages. A deduction amounts to change in work conditions, and is a breach of legal provisions, it said.

The unions have urged the court to restrain the national carrier and its subsidiary company to make any further deductions from employee salaries. The petition is scheduled to be heard next week.

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