The Air India pilots’ union has drafted a letter to the management and said that they would stop working if the airline fails to vaccinate the flying community.
Air India has been operating flights since the lockdown began last year, bringing in Indian nationals stranded abroad during the pandemic. They also ferried supplies of medication and hospital equipment, including PPE kits and other items – to remote corners of the country.
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) raised concerns on Tuesday about the flying crew not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and pointed out that many crew members have tested positive.
ICPA said how crew has been risking their lives during the pandemic.
The pilots said they feel staggered and “let down by the self-serving approach” of the management which only handed them “a massive discriminatory pay cut” in return to their service.
The union said that due to their unwavering support Vande Bharat Mission and relief operations continue to run smoothly even in the face of deadlier strains of the virus.
The letter stated that their finances are already spread thin covering bedridden colleagues and provisioning for families lest they inadvertently infect them with the deadly virus. Air India is yet to respond to the letter.
“It is disheartening to witness the top management make a mockery of pilots discharging their duties in a risky environment. We were hoping that Air India would not let down the crew and their families who stand by the nation during this pandemic.” It said.We feel let down by the self-serving approach of the management, which sees no injustice in organising vaccine camps at few bases but excludes pilots. They further added.
The ICPA said that it is not in the position to risk lives of pilots without vaccination as there is no healthcare support, no insurance and a ‘massive opportunistic’ pay cut.
“If Air India fails to set up vaccination camps on a pan-India basis for the flying crew above the age of 18 years on priority, we will STOP WORK (sic),” the letter stated.
The pilots of Air India have threatened strike if pan-India vaccination camps are not held for them.
They have questioned why they were excluded from the vaccination camps for 18-45-year age group held by the management.
The vaccine camps at a few bases, they said, were held for employees doing desk jobs and the majority opting to work from home.
Action taken- Yes, finally!
Air India shall begin its vaccine drive by 2nd week of May. Also, by the end of May’21 they’ll have vaccinated all their staff, cabin crew and Pilots.
They’ve begun settlements and setting up of base camps for the same.
Also read-A Bat compels Air India flight to return to Delhi post take off
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