Repeated pay delays forcing IA pilots into strike

Talks with management and chief labour commissioner fail


Sweta Ranjan | March 1, 2011

After a grueling month of negotiations and agitations to ensure remittances of salary and parity of pay with Air India pilots, the pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines are finding themselves faced by the same grievances that they thought had been resolved.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association, a representative body of the IA pilots, says that the Air India management seems to be back to its old ways with February salaries of the pilots delayed. ICPA had threatened agitations and held meetings with the airlines management after the remittances of the pilots' January salaries continued to get defferred.

With the salaries for the month of February delayed indefinitely, the association has warned of a strike, saying that the managements treatment of the IA pilots is unfair, arbitrary and unjust. Pilots say that they have been working under stress, as their pay gets held up repeatedly. Moreover, the management seldom neither informs or offers an explanation for the delays, they add.

With the salaries being held up frequently, the pilots feel that it is a deliberate attempt by the management to put them under financial stress.

ICPA had earlier served the management a strike notice, but the actual strike was postponed after the management sought the involvement of the chief labour commissioner (CLC). A reconciliation meeting between the management and the central executive committee of ICPA at the office of CLC N K Prasad, however, failed to earn anything significant for the IA pilots.

Issues relating to pay parity was the main subject discussed. However, as the discussions remained inconclusive, the conciliation proceedings were adjourned and fixed for 08-03-2011.

ICPA sources say that the chief labour commissioner has instructed the management and the union to initiate talks and submit a report by 08-03-2011.
In the meeting the management also urged the central executive committee to withdraw the strike notice to which central executive committee did not agree.

The trade union had also written to the CLC, informing him of the delay in remittances of salaries.

The letter in parts says, "......In this connection, we would like to bring your kind attention that failure to make the payment of wages to our members on the due date is violation of the Memorandum of Settlement dated 30-11-2009 entered before you by the Management and ICPA. Since we have served the Strike Notice to the Management on 24-02-2011 and also as the matter of reconciliation is pending before you, we would request you to kindly direct the Management of Air India Ltd. to make the payment of wages for the month of February, 2011 to our members without any further delay."



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