It is 10 days past pay day at Air India, yet its employees continue to wait for their salaries. Relief is unlikely any time soon as the airline issued a notice on Friday informing staffers that pay cheques may take yet another week.
The notice was issued hours after one of the pilot’s unions wrote to the Air India CMD, Pradeep Singh Kharola, asking why the airline had failed to even inform employees about the delay in salaries. The pilots say this is the fifth month in a row that the airline has failed to pay on time and they have now threatened to operate flights under protest.
“We regret to inform the delay in payment of salaries for the month of July 2018 due to circumstances beyond the control of the management. However, all efforts are being made to make the payment by next week,” read a circular issued by Air India’s General Manager (HR) Meenakshi Kashyap on Friday.
In its letter, the Indian Commercial Pilot’s Association (ICPA) wrote that the situation was leading to stress among employees.
“Financial uncertainty is a source of frustration, anxiety and stress, which result in undue fatigue, adversely impacting flight safety and the overall performance levels of employees,” read the letter from ICPA. They also questioned whether the airline had enough money to conduct regular maintenance of aircraft.
The government has put its plan to privatise the national carrier on hold after it failed to attract any bidders during the disinvestment process initiated in March earlier this year.
Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey recently told reporters that the ministries of Civil Aviation and Finance were working on a plan to infuse more funds into the airline and may also look at fleet expansion to ensure that Air India doesn’t lose its market share to competitors.
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