MUMBAI, MAY 4: The Air India Airbus pilots’ union has warned the management that they will stop work if Air India fails to set up COVID vaccination camps on a national level for the flying crew on priority.
In a letter written to the Director of Operations on Tuesday, Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) raised their concern about their flying crew not being vaccinated against COVID. Pointing out that many crew members have tested positive for COVID, ICPA?said the flying crew have been risking their lives during this pandemic.
They said those on desk jobs or those who could opt for working from home can get vaccinated, but not the flying crew, leaving them vulnerable.
The letter read, ‘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..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.”
ICPA pilots said that it is due to their unwavering support that Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) and relief operations have continued to run smoothly even in the face of a resurgence of even deadlier strains of COVID-19; only to get a discriminatory pay cut in return.
The Association said it is not in the position to risk lives of pilots flying 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 warned.
“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,” the letter concluded.
Air India’s response to ICPA’s letter is awaited.