Some Air India pilots threaten action over salary delay

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An Air India aircraft takes off from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, India, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave

NEW DELHI – More than half the members of Air India’s pilot union have threatened industrial action because of delays in getting their salaries, according to a letter written by the members and seen by Reuters on Friday.

Members of a regional committee of the Indian Commercial Pilots Associations’ (ICPA) have sent a letter to the union’s central committee, saying they had decided not to cooperate with the state-run carrier’s management until salaries are paid.

They did not give further details.

In its letters the members warned that not getting wages on time leads “to financial stress and mental agony, thereby resulting in undue fatigue which is severely affecting flight safety”.

ICPA represents more than 600 pilots in India, according to its website.

The threat is the latest setback for the debt-laden carrier that is struggling to meet operational expenses after the government failed to attract even initial bidders last week to buy a 76 percent stake in the airline.

An Air India spokesperson told Reuters that salaries would be paid next week, adding that the carrier has applied for a loan of 10 billion rupees ($148 million) to meet its expenses.

The carrier has invited bids from financial institutions by June 13 for a short-term loan, according to an announcement on its website.

An internal notice dated June 6 sent to employees said salaries for May were “delayed and the payment is likely to be made on June 15.”

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