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Aeroflot Suspends Unvaccinated Pilots

Russian Airline Suspends At Least 6 

Aeroflot has suspended at least 6 pilots for refusing to vaccinate against the coronavirus, the RBC news website reported Monday, citing a company spokesperson. The pilots were sent on unpaid leave or vacation without pay, at separate times, the Aeroflot spokesman Mikhail Demin told the outlet.

“No other Russian airline has similar suspensions,” Igor Deldyuzhov, president of the Sheremetyevo Cockpit Personnel Association, said in a letter on the union’s website. “These measures toward employees provoke excessive social tensions and push them to quit.” 

The pilots say that they are facing discrimination, due to the fact that as of now, flight attendants and technical support do not face the same requirements that pilots do as far as vaccination status.

Aeroflot is the country’s main international airline and employs 2,300 pilots and has reached a 84% vaccination rate among staff. Deldyuzhov argues that given this vaccination rate, these strict measures need not be adopted. 

Russia’s Labor Minister, Anton Kotyakov, said earlier in the summer that while Russia’s labor code does not allow firing for not being vaccinated, it is within the powers of employers to exercise unpaid leave.

Moscow set forth on a campaign of strict steps to ensure that the service industry workers were vaccinated, including making goals of 60% vaccination mandatory or face a potential shut down or fines. Other regions have followed Moscow’s lead. These restrictions have led to a sharp increase in vaccination rates that have taken a downturn in recent weeks.



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