Sunday 9 May 2021
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Air India pilots threaten to stop work unless vaccinated

Air India pilots union (ICPA) has threatened to “stop work” if the airline fails to set up vaccination camps on a ‘pan India` basis for the flying crew. In a letter written to Air India`s Director of Operations RS Sandhu, ICPA said, “With no healthcare support to the flying crew, no insurance, and a massive opportunistic pay cut, we are in no position to continue risking the lives of our pilots without vaccination.”

“Our finances are already spread thin covering our bedridden colleagues and provisioning for families lest we inadvertently infect them with the deadly virus that is an ever-present occupational hazard for us.”

“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,” the ICPA said.

The union said that many Air India crew members have been diagnosed as Covid-19 positive and are struggling to get oxygen cylinders. “We are left to fend for ourselves for hospitalisation. The management continues to do what it does best, providing lip service and playing to the gallery by issuing circulars and letters with no outcome.”

“We have gone above and beyond during this Covid-19 pandemic, risking life and limb to ensure our citizens` well-being. Due to our unwavering support, VBM & relief operations continue to run smoothly even in the face of a resurgence of even deadlier strains of Covid-19.

All we got in return for our dedication and sacrifices is a massive discriminatory pay cut.”

Besides, the letter said that union members felt let down by the “self-serving approach of the management, which sees no injustice in organising vaccine camps at few bases but excludes pilots”.

“The employees who are doing desk jobs and the majority opting to work from home are allowed to get vaccinated, leaving the flying crew vulnerable,” the ICPA said in its letter.

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