The pilots of Air India have threatened strike if pan-India vaccination camps are not held for them. In a letter to the management today they have questioned why they were excluded from the vaccination camps for 18-45-year age group held by the management.
The vaccine camps at a few bases, they said, were held for employees doing desk jobs and the majority opting to work from home.
Accusing the top management of making a “mockery of pilots discharging their duties in a risky environment”, the pilots said they have gone “above and beyond during this pandemic, risking life and limb to ensure our citizens’ well-being”.
The pilots said they feel “let down by the self-serving approach” of the management which only handed them “a massive discriminatory pay cut” in return for their services.
Air India has been operating flights since the lockdown was partially lifted last year, bringing in Indian nationals stranded abroad during the pandemic. They also ferried supplies of medication and hospital equipment, including PPE kits and other items — to remote corners of the country.
The pilots said the disease has taken a toll on them too.
“Many crew have been diagnosed Covid positive and are struggling to get oxygen cylinders. We are left to fend for ourselves for hospitalisation,” their letter read.
Now, with “no healthcare support to the flying crew, no insurance and a massive opportunistic pay cut, we are in no position to continue risking the lives of our pilots without vaccination,” the pilots said.