New Delhi: Air India pilots have told the management that while austerity measures are heaped on pilots, senior officials and management are enjoying lavish perks like free club memberships, scores of leased cars and hundreds of litres of free fuel every month and there has been no cutback.
In a letter to Rajiv Bansal, Air India, Chairman and Managing Director, the pilots associations said, "It is not only unprincipled for the senior officials to exclude their perks, eligibilities and entitlements from the austerity measures but also irrefutable proof that the intent of the management's cost cutting measures is to further the agenda of abusing employees under the guise of this epidemic".
In a letter today, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association and Indian Pilots Guild said for the past few months, it is being said that Air India's finances are in dire straits, there is no money coming in from the government and drastic cost-cutting is required else the airline will have to be shut down.
"However, this doomsaying seems to be reserved for pilots alone. Till date, the management is yet to come with a meaningful austerity measure that even dents the perks and privileges being enjoyed by the senior Air India officials", the letter said.
The pilots said that the factors of redundancy and efficiency as per compulsory leave without pay scheme should first apply to the officials of the senior management from 2016, who are directly responsible for the bungled decision-making that has seen Air India losses mount year after year, from Rs 48,000 crores in 2017 to Rs 70,000 crores.
The 50 per cent cut for senior AI officials is only on "Other Allowances". This equates to an approximate 10 per cent pay cut on the gross salary for the Director Personnel who is also a Functional Director. This is a deliberate whitewash to shield top management from any significant pay reduction, the pilots alleged.
The Executive Directors are eligible for 140 litres of fuel per month. The Functional Directors are eligible for 270 litres of fuel per month. The fuel expense for these 2 categories alone runs into Rs 30 lakh per annum. As per cost cutting measures circular "fuel reimbursement will stand reduced by 10 per cent". "This is an insignificant cut on a completely frivolous entitlement which serves to highlight the senior management's self-serving approach instead of meaningful cost cutting measures", the pilots said.
Air India provides Elite Corporate Club Membership at company expense to the Functional Directors in high end exclusive clubs. This lavish perk for Functional Directors is conveniently ignored in the austerity measures as this privilege is deemed more important than reducing expenditure. Around 63 cars are provided on lease for Functional Directors, Executive Directors, Regional Directors and GMs.
Average lease rent per car per month as per market rates would be around Rs 24,000. This estimates close to Rs 2 crore per annum. The pilots association said conveniently this too is not re-examined in any austerity measures.