Softening its stand towards pilots on strike, Air India (AI) has reinstated one of the sacked pilots after he gave a written apology and reported back to work on Wednesday.
The government has offered to take back all sacked pilots on a case-to-case basis, including office-bearers of the now de-recognised Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) — an association of AI pilots which has been leading the agitation since May 7.
“There is no bar on taking back sacked pilots. Due procedure will be followed and this will be done on a case-to-case basis only if all pilots first join back work. I am ready to talk on all issues only after they join work, not before,” civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said, adding that no condition of pilots to begin talks would be accepted.
IPG, however, stuck to its guns saying none of its members would rejoin duty unless all sacked pilots were taken back. They said that the sacked pilot who had been reinstated wasn’t a member of their union.
“Out of 444 members, 424 are part of our agitation and the rest are out of the country at present,” the IPG said.
“We don’t want our core demands to be met right now. Take back the pilots and give us an assurance that our demands will be discussed,” IPG said. It also accused the airline management of financial irregularities in leasing of planes which had resulted in a loss of R4,324 crore to the company.
An interim schedule from June 2-30 has been drawn. AI will operate 38 international flights per day instead of 45 international flights that it operates under normal conditions.
AI has referred to DGCA names of more than 100 pilots who have exceeded 15 days of sick leave as on date for medical examination.