India

Now, some SpiceJet pilots give call for ‘mass sick leave’

A SpiceJet passenger Boeing 737-800 aircraft takes off from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport in Ahmedabad.

A SpiceJet passenger Boeing 737-800 aircraft takes off from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport in Ahmedabad. | Photo Credit: Reuters

A section of SpiceJet pilots have given a call for a "mass sick leave" on July 14 to protest against pay cuts at the airline in the past two years.

Pilot sources said that they were unhappy over massive pay cuts the airline continued to impose which amounted to a deduction equivalent of "70%" of their pre-pandemic salary. Pilots also claim that the airline has been deducting contributions towards employee's provident fund and tax deducted at source but was not depositing them with the Employee's Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Income Tax department. Pilots claim provident fund lapses since 2020.

Also read:Spicejet | Turbulence in the airline

Sources also said that there was anger over several "arbitrary" terminations and forced resignation of pilots at the airline.

Employee sources said that nearly 43 first officers and pilots had reported sick for July 14. The airline has nearly 800 pilots. A SpiceJet spokesperson though denied that pilots had reported sick. It remains to be seen whether this will impact the airline's flights across its network which covers over 50 destinations.

The uproar among pilots follows a rap from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation last week which has served a show-cause on the airline underlining that the airline's weak financial status was resulting in its failure to carry out maintenance and procuring spare parts from vendors resulting in "degraded" safety leading to several mid-air incidents and an accident since April.

Agitations at IndiGo, GoFirst

There are similar agitations at IndiGo and GoFirst where technicians have stayed away from work since last week. A "mass sick leave" by nearly 300 cabin crew at IndiGo resulted in 55% of its flights getting delayed on July 2. In April, IndiGo pilots too planned to report sick, but it fizzled out after the airline suspended some of them.

Also read:SpiceJet MD booked for defrauding businessman, airline calls complaint ‘bogus’

Airline sources have denied claims that employee's PF was not being deposited, and said there have been only delays of up to six months. A senior airline official said that PF payment issue had become a serious problem 2022 onwards. He also said that a fixed salary of nearly ₹1.3 lakh for first officers and ₹4 lakh to commanders was being given. These figures have been contended by pilots who say these salaries are for a much larger number of flying hours.


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Printable version | Aug 30, 2022 3:04:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/now-some-spicejet-pilots-give-call-for-mass-sick-leave/article65636738.ece