Air India pilots and management to again hold talks

July 9th, 2012 - 3:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) Air India pilots and the management will again hold conciliation talks July 10 and 12 with the chief labour commissioner to resolve the deadlock after the first round failed Friday.

“The honourable (Delhi) High Court has directed us (pilots) to meet Air India management on the 10th and the 12th. Thereafter the CLC will file a report to the High Court on July 13. The High Court will take up the matter that day,” Rohit Kapahi, committee member of Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) told IANS.

The High Court Monday directed both the sides to hold conciliatory meetings on July 10 and 12 under the supervision of the CLC.

“The impasse between us and the management continues even as we have filed our affidavit of ending the strike with the High Court. However, the management has not been forthcoming in resolving the issue,” Kapahi said.

Last week, the IPG had accused the management of of retracting on its commitment to “sympathetically” consider their grievances even as nearly 300 pilots having allegiance to IPG started reporting to work after nearly three months of strike.

After initially making 14 demands, the pilots are now only asking for reinstatement of their 101 colleagues who were sacked during the strike.

The IPG late Friday said in their talks with the management, Air India officials expressed their inability to commit anything on reinstating pilots or addressing their demands.

The pilots having allegiance to IPG called off their strike after Air India last Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that it would sympathetically consider their grievances.

According to an airline official, nearly 300 pilots belonging to the IPG have begun reporting back to work.

Before resuming work, the pilots will have to get their fitness checked by doctors and undergo refresher training and a mandatory route flying check.

For the route flying check, the pilots who have not flown an aircraft for over 30 days will operate a flight with a check (instructor) pilot who will oversee their performance.

After that, the pilots resuming duty will be assigned a flying schedule.

The trouble for the airline started May 8 when IPG members took mass sick leave, protesting against the move to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.

Air India and Indian Airlines were merged in 2007 to form a single entity to overcome their sub-optimal performance and in the hope that the step would result in a Rs.1,000 crore profit in the first year itself.

The strike crippled Air India’s international operations and caused an estimate revenue loss of Rs.625 crore.

The losses will keep on mounting till operations are completely restored.

The grounded fleet of Boeing 777s, unused manpower and absence from key routes have hit the airlines’ chances of a financial turnaround.

Currently, the airline is operating only 38 of its 45 international services. Among the axed destinations are Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul and Toronto.

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