Vistara pilots threatened, treated as 'bonded labourers', say Air India unions

Alleging that pilots were being treated as "bonded labourers", Air India unions extended their support to their Vistara counterparts, who are protesting against the airline's decision to merge with Air India, pay scale and rostering issues.
Vistara pilots threatened, treated as 'bonded labourers', say Air India unions
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Two unions of Air India have extended their support to the Vistara pilots' strike over various issues, including pay revision. They alleged that pilots were being treated as "bonded labourers" and threatened by the HR with severe consequences.

Vistara, a Tata-owned airline, has cancelled several flights due to a shortage of crew and its pilots have been protesting against the decision of the airline to merge with Air India, pay revision and rostering issues.

In a letter to Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran on Thursday, Air India's Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPI) and the Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG) said issues pertaining to reduction in minimum guaranteed flying allowance to 40 hours, leave approval and roster malpractices extend to all Tata Group airlines. They also called for a dialogue with the Tata Group to resolve the issues.

Air India's two unions said the issues faced by Vistara pilots are not isolated, but rather systemic issues across Tata Group aviation entities. Tata Group has four airline ventures -- Air India, Air India Express, AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India) and Vistara.

The unions alleged that "there have been instances where the HR has resorted to threatening pilots with potential disruptions to their future, accompanied by severe consequences".

"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 unions said.

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Vistara pilots threatened, treated as 'bonded labourers', say Air India unions

"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," it said.

Source: India Today

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