Pilots warn Jet Airways of protests from March 1 over delay in salaries

Jet Airways
Jet Airways pilots’ union National Aviators Guild (NAG) has warned the airline of non-cooperation from March 1 if the management fails to clarify on salary payment. It is not a strike call but the union may ask its members to stick to the roster and not accept last-minute changes in duties. 

Faced with a funds crunch, Jet has delayed salary and vendor payments in the last few months. Pilots, engineers and the senior management are being paid salaries in tranches and have been assured of 150 per cent payment in February. This includes 100 per cent of December salary and 25 per cent backlog of November as well as January pay. So far, no amount has been paid.

The development comes as the airline negotiates Rs 500 crore interim loan from banks while assuring lessors and vendors of clearing their dues.

On Saturday, the union informed its members that 25 per cent of November salary will be paid on Tuesday and further updates on dues would be known on Monday. “In case of unsatisfactory outcome, non-cooperation will begin from March 1,” the NAG wrote to its members.

The airline has around 1,600 pilots and nearly 1,100 of them are members of the guild. 

While the union is not planning a strike or mass action as it would cause flight disruption, impact revenue and keep away investors, it is increasingly under pressure from its ranks to take action. “Pilots are losing patience,” an airline official said. Some are even contemplating skipping work over payment delays. “What we are seeking is only our rightful dues. We are not asking for anything more. The management should realise this and not take us for granted. Our members have financial commitments and EMIs and delays are causing them stress,” said a NAG member.

In a statement, the airline said, “Jet Airways continues to operate as per its published schedule. The company is committed to meet salary obligations towards its employees, and to that end, has assured a section of its pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and members of the senior management of clearing all pending dues by April 1, 2019.”

“All employees of the company, including its pilots and engineers, continue to actively cooperate to ensure its (Jet’s) successful turnaround,” it added.

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