Air India pilots strike postponed

March 9th, 2011 - 2:33 am ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) A group of Air India pilots, who have threatened to go on strike Wednesday over pay hike and other issues, decided to postpone their plan till March 15 after an initiative by the Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi.

“The association have appreciated the initiative taken by the minister and they will take a final call on the strike later this month,” an official of the agitating pilots group told IANS.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), a group of pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines, now merged with flag carrier Air India, had served notice Feb 23 for striking work March 9.

The association claims that there were differences in salaries and working conditions of pilots of Indian Airlines and Air India and that the management has violated the memorandum of settlement signed in November 2009 on implementing the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

The ICPA is also demanding payment of arrears since the date of merger of the two airlines in 2007. The ICPA represents some 800 pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines.

Air India has also said that all efforts are on to stave-off the strike.

“Talks are on and we are trying our best to stave-off the strike. All our efforts are currently concentrated towards it,” a senior Air India official told IANS.

Earlier, talks between Ravi and and ICPA failed to break the deadlock Monday.

“I patiently heard what the association had to tell me. They raised some immediate concerns which I will take up with my secretary and management soon,” Ravi had told reporters here after the meeting.

The cash-strapped airline had reported a decrease in its net loss for fiscal 2009-10 — at Rs.5,551 crore against a net loss of Rs.7,189 crore in fiscal 2008-09.

The central government had infused Rs.2,000 crore of fresh equity in the flag-carrier last year in two instalments of Rs.800 crore and Rs.1,200 crore.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in his 2011-12 budget, had said: “As a part of the process for financial restructuring of National Aviation Company of India Limited, an amount of Rs.1,200 crore has been provided.”

Indo-Asian News Service

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