Jet strike enters fifth day, 180 flights axed (Lead)

September 12th, 2009 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 12 (IANS) A crippling strike by Jet Airways pilots entered the fifth day Saturday, leading to the cancellation of 180 flights including 25 on the international route, officials said.
There was no word when the strike, which has hit hard the aviation sector, will end. But Jet sources said the management and striking pilots were set to hold a second round of talks Saturday.

The airline said it would operate only two flights on the international route Saturday: London-Mumbai and Abu Dhabi-Delhi.

Most Jet planes remained grounded after the management and the pilots failed to reach a pact Friday. Another meeting is slated for Saturday. The pilots are demanding the reinstatement of their sacked colleagues.

It is not clear if Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal will take part in the talks.

A marathon meeting held in New Delhi Friday was attended by Jet executive director Saroj Dutta and chief executive officer Hafiz Ali. The newly formed National Aviators Guild (NAG) was represented by Captain Kaushik and Captain Sam Thomas, one of the four sacked pilots.

The airline has been virtually grounded after over 500 pilots reported ’sick’ five days ago demanding that their sacked colleagues be taken back.

The pilots also want NAG to be given official recognition.

The management is reportedly willing to take back the sacked employees but wants the pilots’ union to be dismantled.

After the pilots went on ‘mass sick leave’ Tuesday, Jet Airways moved the Bombay High Court, which restrained the pilots from resorting to any form of agitation pending its final order.

On Wednesday, the airline filed a contempt petition against the pilots. It is slated to be heard Monday.

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