NEW DELHI: Flagging concerns over unpaid dues, Air India pilots' union has urged the government to allow their members to quit the debt-laden carrier without serving the notice period.
As the government works out the modalities for the sale of the national carrier, the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) has also warned that they are in no position to work amid uncertainty over the airline's future.
The grouping represents nearly 800 Air India pilots who fly narrow-body planes. They have written a strongly-worded letter to Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri regarding their dues.
"your statement that if Air India is not privatised by 31st March 2020 then Air India will be shut down, is a matter of concern," the letter said.
Citing the uncertainty over the airline's future, the grouping asked the minister to ensure that they "are not treated like bonded labour and allow us to quit Air India without serving the notice period and clear all our dues immediately".
The notice period is six months. Air India has a debt burden of more than Rs 58,000 crore. The ICPA has also asked for clearing their legitimate dues without any further delay.
In a warning, the grouping said, "our patience is running thin and we are in no position to continue working with uncertainty looming large at Air India".
"We do not want to face the same fate as other employees of 21 private carriers that have shut down and further add to the rising unemployment in India," the letter, dated December 23, said.
As per the letter, they are yet to receive the flying allowance for October.
"We have been living with uncertainty for the past 2 -3years, and as a result, many employees have defaulted on their loan and other payments. This has greatly affected our livelihood and our families," it added.