Going the IndiGo and GoFirst employees’ way to protest pay cuts, SpiceJet pilots are out to resist the management’s alleged “unfair policies.” A section of the carrier’s pilots will be on “sick leave” on July 14 to object pay cuts in the past two years.
Pilot sources said 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.
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 “tendered sick leave” 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 notice from Directorate General of Civil Aviation last week which served a show-cause underlining that the airline’s weak financial status was resulting in its failure to carry out maintenance. The lapse was also held accountable for procuring spare parts from vendors resulting in “degraded” safety leading to several mid-air incidents and an accident since April. Similar agitations were reported 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 defence, airline sources denied claims that employees’ PF was not being deposited, and said there have been delays only up to six months. A senior airline official said that PF payment issue had become a serious problem onwards 2022.