May 082012

With about 160 pilots not having joined duty, the services of at least ten pilots, including office bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), which is leading the agitation, were terminated, sources said.Air India on Tuesday sacked ten agitating pilots, de-recognised their union and sealed its offices after around 160 failed to join duty, leading to cancellation of five international flights since midnight.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh terming their agitation¬†“illegal”, airline sources said more severe action was to follow if the pilots did not get back to work by 6pm on Tuesday.

The civil aviation minister said the management of the national carrier would take appropriate action against those involved in the stir.

While the IPG has been de-recognised, the sources said its offices in Mumbai and Delhi were sealed.

A section of Air India pilots owing allegiance IPG are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression.

Flights on Delhi-Toronto, Delhi-Chicago, Mumbai-Newark and Mumbai-Hongkong via Delhi sectors were cancelled “due to unavailability of pilots,” an Air India spokesperson said.

“They are reporting sick. They have not given any notice for any strike. So whatever the Air India management rules and regulations, action will be taken accordingly,” Singh told reporters.

“The pilots have been told to return to work by today evening. And if they don’t, the management will take stern action against them,” the Air India spokesperson said.

The airline management has also started sending doctors to the houses of pilots who were reporting sick, the sources said.

Four Air India international flights were cancelled today after about 100 pilots called in sick, evoking a strong response from the airline management which asked them to return to work by 6 pm this evening or face action.

Noting that Air India is currently undergoing a turbulent period and crores of public money is being infused to run the carrier, Singh said every section has grievances and that there are ways to find a solution.

“Strike is illegal. There is a way to launch a strike. Every section has grievances and problems. But there are ways,” he said.

A section of Air India pilots owing allegiance to Indian Pilots Guild are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training. Four AI international flights were cancelled from Delhi and Mumbai after about 100 pilots refused to join work.

It is understood that the management has also decided to send doctors’ team to the pilots’ houses, who are reporting sick, to protest against the rescheduling of Boeing 878 Dreamliner training.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-backed pilots’ body has said that it is open to negotiations with the management.

“We are open to negotiations at any given time,” Indian Pilots Guild president and NCP leader Jitendra Awhad told.

“We have decided to send doctors’ team at the residence of the pilots, who are reporting sick. It is our primary duty to enquire about their health,” airline sources told.

The civil aviation minister said the pilots went on sick leave in the midst of their talks with the management of Air India which has led to cancellation of flights.


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