In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, eight employees’ unions of Air India on Friday requested him to withdraw the decision made to cut their salaries by 10%, PTI reported.

In March, Air India had said it would cut salaries of all employees by 10% for three months, despite the Centre requesting public and private sector companies to not deduct pay or lay off employees during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The aviation sector has been hit hugely with India being under lockdown since March 25. All commercial passenger flights have been suspended since then. Internationally too, the industry has been affected by several bans on flying due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We request you to countermand Air India committee’s decision on Covid-19 pay cuts, which is against the government’s directives and also treat us at par with other Public Sector Units during the lockdown,” the letter said, while commending IndiGo’s decision.

Also read: Coronavirus pandemic could lead to loss of 20 lakh jobs in Indian aviation, says IATA

On Thursday, IndiGo had decided to roll back pay cuts that were announced in March for senior staff members. While a private airline is honouring the directions of the government, it is of “great consequence for Air India to follow suit and also lead by example”, the letter further reads.

“This pay cut by Air India is mere optics, unnecessary and will hit the morale of the employees which will have a cascading effect on the Indian economy,” the unions’ letter stated.

The unions said Air India management defaulted on timely payment of salary, which was paid on April 18, with a 10% pay cut. Meanwhile, its flying crew is yet to receive 70% of wages for February.

The eight unions that wrote to Puri include the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, Indian Pilots’ Guild, Air Corporations Employees’ Union, All India Cabin Crew Association, All India Aircraft Engineers’ Association, Air India Employees’ Union, All India Aircraft Engineers’ Association and Indian Aircraft Technicians’ Association.