Flying Air India towards the end of this month? You might want to consider changing your plans.
After several threats to go on strike, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), a union formed by 800 former Indian Airline pilots, has sent a 14-day strike notice to the Air India management on Monday.
As per the notice, pilots who nearly fly 23,000 passengers daily would stop operations from November 24 evening if the airline fails to clear their outstanding salaries by November 10.
The strike is permitted under section 22 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
“We believe that all possible avenues of dialogues, meetings and correspondence with your office and the central labour commissioner have been of little meaning,” said Captain R.S. Ottal, general secretary of ICPA.
“It is obvious from the managements’ conduct that all efforts to develop a constructive and meaningful relationship with the management are futile in spite of our cooperation.”
Pilots have got only 20 per cent of their salaries in the last three months.
The airline has refused to pay the performance linked incentive and flying allowance for several months until last week when the pilots threatened a strike. It is in talks with financial institutions seeking additional loans to clear outstanding dues.
The airline that declared a loss of Rs 7,200 crore in March and has projected a loss of Rs 5,000 crore by March 2010 had been denying both components to the employees.
Sources said the airline changed its stand to avoid the strike as it would add to losses and tarnish its brand image.
The national carrier experienced it last month when 400 of its executive pilots went on four-day mass ‘sick leave’ grounding flights and leaving hundreds of fliers in the lurch.