A section of Jet Airways pilots is operating flights on ‘work to roster” basis in protest against the management’s alleged failure to clear their salary hike dues, a move which is likely to hit airline’s operations, a source said. The Naresh Goyal-owned full service carrier, in which gulf airline Etihad holds 24 per cent stake, had signed a three-year wage agreement with its around 1,400 pilots, including commanders. The agreement is effective from April 1, 2016, the source said. “As per the agreement, the average hike for a commander stands in the range of Rs 13-14 lakh per annum for the first year (April 2016-March 2017). However, these arrears have not yet been paid,” the source told PTI here. Jet Airways currently has about 1,400 pilots, including 650 commanders. The total arrears dues of the pilots, including first officers, are in the range of around Rs 11 crore for one year, the source added.
“So we have decided to resort `work to roster’ from the last week and not accept the management’s request to perform additional flights beyond the roster in protest,” the source said. Queries sent to Jet Airways spokesperson remained unanswered. “As of now, the operations have not been impacted due to the move but going forward it is definitely going to hit the flight schedule to an extent,” the source added. In April this year, Jet Airways had informed about freezing salary hikes of its senior employees of manager grade and above, including most pilots, for the current fiscal.
However, later it communicated to the pilots that the freeze on pay hikes would be reviewed after declaration of the first quarter result. In September, Jet Airways reported a net profit of Rs 53.5 crore for the June quarter of the current fiscal, almost double of Rs 25.88 crore net profit reported in the same quarter of 2016-17. “The management says it will pay our salary hike dues in two instalments – the first six months arrears by March next year and the balance by September 2018 – which is not acceptable to us,” the source added.