AI's refusal to consider pilots' demands led to strike: Report
The Chief Labour Commissioner's (CLC) report on the failure of the reconciliation talks that led to the ongoing Air India pilots' strike revealed that the airline management turned down the pilots' demand for fixed flying hours and lay over allowance.mumbai Updated: May 05, 2011 01:22 IST
The Chief Labour Commissioner's (CLC) report on the failure of the reconciliation talks that led to the ongoing Air India pilots' strike revealed that the airline management turned down the pilots' demand for fixed flying hours and lay over allowance.
The ongoing strike that grounded 90% of AI's domestic flights entered its eighth day on Wednesday.
According to the letter, (HT has a copy) the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), one of the two pilots' unions in Air India leading the strike, demanded a fixed allowance for 75 flying hours a month. The union had also asked for a monthly layover allowance, which covers expenses incurred by a pilot in a foreign city between flights, of $1,600 for commanders and $1,300 for co-pilots for operating international flights.
The AI management did not respond to the demand but accused the union of issuing safety directives to its members and causing financial losses to the company and inconveniencing passengers, the report added.
A few weeks before the strike, ICPA members refused to operate flights to Goa because the under-repair runway did not have critical landing aid. After the ICPA's objection the aviation regulator also issued a circular restricting operations at Goa airport. The union also refused to operate flights to Kabul and Kathmandu citing safety concerns.
"The management representatives blamed the directives issued in interest of passenger safety because they wanted to ignore discussion on pay parity," said an ICPA member requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
The member added that the directives were in adherence to safety rules made by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the airline's operation manual. The Air India spokesperson did not comment on the issue.
The CLC's report also read, "The ICPA representative stated that despite giving repeated assurances, commitments to the union and CLC in past proceeding with definite deadlines, the management has repeatedly failed to present any concrete proposal on pay parity (with colleagues in the pre-merger AI)."