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Pilots May Serve Legal Notice To Jet Over Pay Cuts

Posted in Cockpit Crew News, Jet AirwaysNo comments

Jet Airways’ salary cutting exercise, which got going this month, may face glitches with the airlines’ Indian pilots planning to serve a legal notice alleging breach of employment contract.

On Thursday, the airline employees received a salary cut email, effective from December 1. “The mail informed pilots about a 10% cut in their salary and allowances, including no monthly or annual overtime dues, reduction of per day allowance and meal allowance for outstation stays from $220 to $145,” said a senior pilot.

“Some of the cuts go against our employment contract. We are planning to serve a legal notice on the airline,” the pilot added. However, there were no protests from engineers and other staff.

The pilot’s protests may have seemed unjustified — given that the airline took these steps to keep its neck out of water — if it were not for its alleged partisan handling of the expatriate pilots issue. On many ocassions in the past, including the time when the airline chief Naresh Goyal called the pilots to discuss salary cuts last month, the said issue was brought up. The Indian pilots have been demanding a complete phase out of foreign pilots — they have to be paid double the salary as compared to their Indian counterparts — as the airline has surplus pilots on some aircraft like the B-737. Among other sore points are the alleged discrimination in flying hours alloted and destinations.

“Despite several assurances by management, the discrimination continues, even at the cost of losing more money. For instance, the airline is wet leasing B-777 aircraft to Turkish Airlines and Gulf Air. It has decided to send expatriate pilots with these aircraft, though they would cost the airline more. An expatriate pilot would have to be paid $20,000 whereas an Indian is paid only $12,000. We can’t accept the salary cuts in such a scenario,” the pilot said, adding that expatriate pilots’ salaries have not been touched. “The only change is that the airline won’t pay for hotel accomodation in the city that the expatriate pilot is based in. Instead, they will be paid Rs 1 lakh a month for accomodation,” he added.

The Jet Airways spokesperson said the measures were taken to overcome the challenges faced due to the current global economic slowdown. “Jet Airways has adjusted its route network and adopted internal measures to trim costs across the organisation,” the spokeserson said.
“All employees earning a gross salary of over Rs 75,000 per month have been requested for a graduated wage cut over the next 12 months. For pilots, this will be in the form of a combination of wage cut and allowance rationalisation, which will bring the contribution of pilots in line with the other employees in the company. The top management team has taken a voluntary cut of 25%, effective from December 8,” the spokesperson said, adding that the airline and its employees are united in their efforts.

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