The Financial Express

‘Angry, frustrated’ Biman pilots launch protests over pay cut

| Updated: October 26, 2021 09:35:01

‘Angry, frustrated’ Biman pilots launch protests over pay cut

Pilots of Biman Bangladesh Airlines have decided not to work beyond the terms of contracts with the flag carrier as part of their protests against pay cuts.

Biman had announced the pay cuts for all employees one and a half years ago at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bangladesh Airlines Pilots’ Association (BAPA) President Mahbubur Rahman on Monday alleged that others’ salaries have been restored but the decision does not cover the pilots, reports bdnews24.com.

“The pilots did not get additional pay despite risking their lives to fly the planes. The pilots are extremely frustrated and angry,” Mahbubur said.

The pilots said they are supposed to fly 75 hours and have eight days of holiday a month in line with a contract between Biman and BAPA.

Biman Managing Director and CEO Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal could not be reached for comment. Its spokeswoman Tahera Khandaker said she did not know about the issue.

As many as 157 pilots are on the payroll of Biman. They have been hit with a reduction in pay ranging from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of their salary since May 2020.

Air connectivity was yet to be fully restored even after a year into the coronavirus outbreak, but Biman brought a lot of changes to the payment of pilots in July.

It stated that pilots working as cockpit crew between zero and five years will suffer no pay cuts for the month of July.

Crew members, including pilots, working for over five years to 10 years will receive a 5 per cent cut, while those working for more than 10 years will get 25 per cent less salary.

The pilots, however, said they stopped receiving overseas allowances, amounting to 20 per cent of the salaries, so the pay cut, in reality, was 45 per cent as opposed to 25 per cent. It means those who will receive 5 per cent pay cut will actually get 25 percent less.

The pilots also said officials working there for less than five years total 10 at the most.

The decisions by the Biman authorities prompted the pilots to threaten a strike, but they stopped the programme saying the authorities assured them of looking into their demand, according to Mahbubur.

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