Russia’s Aeroflot has suspended several pilots for refusing to vaccinate against the coronavirus, the RBC news website reported Monday, citing a company spokesperson.
At least six At least six unvaccinated pilots were at various times sent on unpaid leave or vacation without pay, Aeroflot spokesman Mikhail Demin said.
The pilots’ labor union complained to Aeroflot CEO Mikhail Poluboyarinov of discrimination, arguing that unvaccinated flight attendants and technical support staff do not face similar dismissals.
“No other Russian airline has similar suspensions,” Igor Deldyuzhov, president of the Sheremetyevo Cockpit Personnel Association (SCPA), said in a letter on the union’s website.
“These measures toward employees provoke excessive social tensions and push them to quit,” Deldyuzhov wrote, urging Poluboyarinov to lift the order to dismiss unvaccinated pilots.
He argued that Aeroflot, which employs 2,300 pilots, should not adopt punitive measures against unvaccinated employees given that the airline reached an 84% vaccination rate among its overall staff.
Russia has grappled with slower-than-hoped vaccination rates despite having three authorized and widely available vaccines.
Russia’s labor minister warned this summer that unvaccinated workers risk being sent on unpaid leave. He noted, however, that Russia’s labor code does not prescribe firings for refusing vaccination.
Plataforma Informativa de Aviación Comercial líder en América Latina.