AI pilots vote to go on strike, protest against new rules

  • Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2015 11:15 IST

A majority of Air India pilots voted to go on a strike to protest against new rules that take away their right to agitate and excludes them from being part of unions.

The results of a secret ballot conducted by a 800-member strong union unanimously voted for a strike, according to results declared on Sunday evening. Nearly 80% of those who voted said they supported a strike.

The poll was held to get a concensus on pilots' opinion about the labour ministry's recent notification which stopped recognising senior pilots or commanders as 'workmen', thus taking away their right to strike.

On Sunday evening the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) sent out a letter confirming the ballot results but did not spell out its future course of action.

"We would like to inform you that we are overwhelmed by the enthusiam and support shown by our members by participating in the secret ballot and all the four regions have voted in favour of strike," the letter read.

While the letter asked pilots to wait for 'further instructions' sources said that the ICPA might serve a formal strike notice in the next two days. Normally a period of 14 days is available for negotiations after a strike notice is served. The period could be extended by another 14 days.

Thousands of AI fliers could be stranded at airports across India as the pilots' union threatening to strike, handles domestic operations and selects international flights to nearby destinations. AI caters to almost one out of every five domestic fliers in the country.

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