Pay Cut in Biman: Pilots demand pre-Covid time salaries
Aggrieved over pay cuts, pilots of Biman Bangladesh Airlines yesterday gave the authorities a four-day ultimatum to provide them with the salaries which they used to get before the Covid-19.
They threatened that they would not operate flights beyond the contracted working hours if their demand was not met within the deadline.
As per the contracts, a pilot is supposed to fly 70-75 hours a month.
At present, most of the 105 Biman pilots, however, have to operate aircraft on international routes beyond their contracted working hours, Capt Mahbubur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Airlines Pilots' Association (Bapa), told The Daily Star after the platform issued the ultimatum.
Biman, the national flag carrier, is now operating flights on 17 international routes every day, said its sources.
Its officials said the airlines' operation on the routes will be disrupted if the pilots do not get their pre-Covid time salaries and then stick to their decision.
One of the officials said a Doha-bound flight was scheduled to depart from the capital's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 6:30pm on Monday.
The flight, however, was delayed for more than three hours as one of the pilots refused to fly the aircraft.
Following alternative arrangements, the flight left the Dhaka airport around 9:30pm.
Talking to The Daily Star, Capt Mahbubur said after discussions with Biman Managing Director and CEO Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, Bapa has decided to give the authorities the four-day ultimatum till Saturday to realise its demand.
"We won't operate aircraft beyond the contracted working hours if our demand is not met by that time."
He said the Biman administration had given them a "false assurance" that their salaries would be adjusted from August.
Asked, the Biman MD and CEO said the Biman board was making a decision that pilots will get allowances on hour basis, which is Tk 5,000 an hour, when they will fly aircraft on international routes.
"But they are demanding that all the pilots get overseas allowance on a monthly basis, which is Tk 2.16 lakh," he added.
The Biman boss said he would place the pilots' demand before the Biman board meeting, which is likely to be held on Saturday.
He admitted that flight operations of Biman were being disrupted due to the pilot's latest decision.
On July 14 this year, Biman pilots threatened that they would refrain from flying additional or extra flights if the authorities do not address salary disparity between its pilots and other employees by July 30.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the salaries of Biman's employees, including pilots, were curtailed to reduce the cost of Biman in May last year, a decision that irked the pilots.
Pilots' salaries have decreased up to 25-50 percent. Overseas allowance, which is a part of their fixed salary, has also been halted. As a result, the total salary reduction rate has stood at 57-65 percent. Several other benefits of pilots have also been halted.
According to an order in July, the airlines decided to deduct 10 percent of the salary of those who were in the pay scale from six to eight and 15 percent for those who were above pay scale nine.
As per the order, cockpit crew (pilots) having service period of five years will get 15 percent reduced salary, those five-10 years 20 percent and those over 10 years 40 percent reduced salary.
Capt Mahbubur said due to the discriminatory decision, the salary of a senior pilot has been reduced to Tk 5 lakh a month.
He said the salaries of other Biman officials have been adjusted in the last three months, but no action has been taken yet to adjust pilot's salaries.