Even after the Delhi high court ordered them to go back to work in public interest, a section of Air India (AI) pilots who struck work from Tuesday midnight appeared in no mood to return to the cockpit for now.
The 800-strong Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) — the biggest association of AI pilots — decided to approach a larger bench of the Delhi high court on Thursday.
The strike, ICPA source said, was “very much on” and they expected management pilots (who carry out non-flying managerial work) too to join them. Sources said management pilots have started reporting sick.
Justice Gita Mittal also slammed the AI management, telling it to consider the ICPA grievances, which she said were “completely justified”.
"Prima-facie, extreme injustice is being meted out to them,” she said, referring to the 800 ICPA members who were with Indian Airlines till its merger with AI in 2007.
The ICPA members have been demanding pay parity with their colleagues who had been with AI before the merger.
But there was no doubt that AI’s battered image took another beating, with the strike leading to more than 70 flights being cancelled and scores delayed.
The strike on Wednesday was the second in less than a year and the third in as many years, making it some sort of an annual ritual for the beleaguered national carrier, which has been surviving on taxpayers’ money.