Strike is against corruption in Air India, say protesting pilots

April 27th, 2011 - 9:32 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Apr 28 (ANI): Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) President Asheem Singh Bhinder on Wednesday said the decision of 660 pilots to go on strike was to challenge the ‘mismanagement’ and ‘corruption’ in Air India.

“Yesterday, we had minuted it in front of the Chief Labour Commissioner that the ICPA has submitted that in view of a committee appointed by Justice Dharamadhikari, Judge, Supreme Court, to look into, an independent and an impartial look into HR department, working condition, pay parity, seniority,” said Bhinder.

“ICPA has now decided not to press for the demands of those issues. However, our strike is against the mismanagement and corruption in the airline,” he added.

The ICPA President further said the issue is not only about lack of pay parity, but the general functioning of the organisation.

“We are on an indefinite strike. This management has always been doing this. If you try to vent your grievances or point out any irregularities, the management has always either threatened employees, or suspension, termination, or they have transferred them to places where there is no posting ever done,” said Bhinder.

“This is very natural thing; this is not something new. So we are going to fight it out, even if we have to fight it out from the road. We will fight it out,” he added.

The strike has led to cancellation of flights, leaving passengers scheduled to fly Air India to face uncertain times.

Bhinder on behalf of the ICPA said he is ’sincerely sorry’ for the inconvenience caused to the passengers, but added that it was important to react against the management.

“I sincerely apologise to all the passengers for all the inconvenience caused but unfortunately, today, if we do not raise our voice, today if we do not get this issue addressed in due course of time, passengers won’t have a national carrier left to fly on,” he said.

Hitting back at the striking pilots, the Air India management today sacked six ICPA leaders.

Among those whose services have been terminated are ICPA President Captain Ashim Bhinder and General Secretary Captain Rishabh Kapoor.

Declaring the strike as illegal, the management derecognised the ICPA and sealed its offices in Delhi and Mumbai.

At least 20 Air India flights have been cancelled after some of Air India pilots affiliated to the ICPA, went on strike from midnight to press for their various demands.

Around eight flights from Delhi and eleven from Mumbai were cancelled this morning, while several others were delayed by over three hours.

The ICPA has about 700 members who use to work for Indian Airlines till it was merged with Air India in 2007.

The ICPA claims that while Air India pilots enjoy a huge fixed salary component, the same is almost minuscule for former IA pilots in 2007.

The association claims that while their entire pay package depends on the hours they fly every day, the airline has been curtailing the number of flights by 30 to 40 percent. (ANI)

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