IA pilots put strike on hold

Will wait for February 16 meeting with civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi

sweta-ranjan

Sweta Ranjan | February 15, 2011



The agitation threatened by Indian Airlines pilots over pay parity with Air India pilots has been put on hold by the their representative body Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) after the Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav said on Monday that civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi will be taking the final call on the issue.

ICPA general secretary captain Rishabh Kapoor told Governance Now after having met Jadhav along with other ICPA members, "Things are not very clear at the moment. We have briefed the CMD of our grievances. A clearer picture will emerge on February 16, after we have met the civil aviation minister."

IA pilots had been long protesting the continued delay in remittances of their salaries for the month of January and for pay parity with Air India pilots. The salary was finally remitted in their accounts on Monday.

After the meeting on February 14 in a letter issued to CEC, ICPA, the Air India management writes, "In the meeting with ICPA, the ICPA is demanding a simple parity with Air India pilots in terms of the pay and allowance including the layover subsistence on the basis that at the time of merger, employees had been assured that the  best of the two organisations would be made applicable to the employees in the merged entity. In the meeting the ICPA also demanded for at least some interim solution which should be made applicable to them and were justified in their demands as erstwhile Air India pilots are being paid in the company on the same concept i.e. 80 hrs fixed and layover subsistence allowance."

Jadhav in a letter to the ICPA has also mentioned that, "The matter has been discussed at length in the meeting held with ICPA wherein it was clarified to them that the issue with regard to parity and/or interim, an interim commitment cannot be made to them without proper evaluation by the finance department as well as due approval of the minister. This is primarily due to the fact to the fact that the performance and the turn around of AI is being monitored closely by Group of Ministers".

The minister will meet the pilots' union on February 16 to understand their grievances and to chalk out a new strategy for the beleaguered state-run carrier.

The ICPA had threatened a flash strike last week complaining of discrimination by the management against IA pilots as they were paid by the hour, unlike their Air India counterparts who receive a fixed monthly salary.

It has further demanded that the merger of Air India code with that of the erstwhile Indian Airlines code should be postponed till their demands are met.

The move is seen as a last-ditch effort to stave off the strike which could have posed a major hurdle in reviving the National Aviation Company of India - the parent company of the Air India brand - which suffered losses to the tune of Rs.5,551 crore in 2009-10, in addition to the loss of Rs.7,189 crore in the previous year.

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