Pilots to hold talks with civil aviation secretary

AI asks striking pilots to call off stir

sweta-ranjan

Sweta Ranjan | May 5, 2011



Talks between the agitating Air India pilots and civil aviation joint secretary Prashant Shukul remained inconclusive on Thursday, a day after they were initiated. However, the pilots' representative body Indian Commercial Pilots' Association will be holding talks on Friday with the civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi.

Meanwhile, the airline's management has asked the pilots to immediately withdraw the stir.

The management has suggested that the pilots return to work immediately but has not commented on the resolution of their demands.  It has also stated that the calling off of the strike can not be made conditional.

After Wednesday's talks with the civil aviation ministry, the striking pilots had expressed hope of an early resolution as the ministry had agreed to a few of their demands. The AI management on Thursday hinted at reinstating the terminated and suspended pilots in keeping with the ministry's arrangement with the striking pilots. But it has stated that it will do so only if the pilots' give up the agitation unconditionally.

The pilots, on the other hand, have refused to budge if they get no assurances that their demands of pay parity are resolved.

"The management thinks we are clueless about their style of handling the situation. the management is befooling us by giving us the assurance that the sacked pilots would be reinstated and the union would be –re-recognised. These were never our demands. We had demanded for parity and we are still adamant on our demand,” said an Indian Commercial Pilots association (ICPA) member. He added, "The main reason for the strike were not the reinstatement or the re-recognition of the pilots' union. These arose as a result of vindictive action by the management. We remain firm in our original demands."

The nine-day strike has caused a loss of Rs 146.5 crore to the airlines.

On Thursday, before the meeting with officials of civil aviation ministry, the seven office bearers of ICPA also met the spokesperson of Bhartiya Janata Party Rajeev Pratap Rudy to draw a line for the discussion.

Last evening, pilots met with senior officials of the civil aviation ministry which was seen as an attempt to break the dead-lock but the ICPA has sent SMS to all its members that they should not believe the media reports that the strike might get called off. The pilots body has requested all its members to remain firm on their decision to continue with the agitation till their demands are met.

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