Hold talks on daily basis, HC tells AI management and pilots
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday directed the Air India management and its pilots to hold conciliation process on a day-to-day basis before the Deputy Labour Commissioner to expeditiously resolve issues relating to reinstatement of sacked pilots and career progression.
Accepting the interim report filed by the Conciliating officer about the progress of ongoing negotiations between the parties, Justice Reva Khetrapal directed the pilots and management officials to appear before the officer tomorrow.
"It is directed that the conciliation process to take place on day-to-day basis from tomorrow to enable the management to consider the issues pertaining to the pilots reinstatement (whose services were terminated due to their strike) and their salaries," the judge said.
Seeking final report from the conciliator after the talk between the parties, the court posted the matter for July 13 for further hearing.
Following the management's assurance before the court to consider reinstatement of the 101 pilots whose services were terminated, the pilots, owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), had on July 3 called off their 58 day-old strike.
Over 400 pilots had gone on strike on May 7 demanding better career progression.
During the hearing, the judge disapproved the "stiff" stand taken by the airline management in expeditiously dealing with the demands of the pilots.
"U are adopting a stiff stand...It matters to the employees (pilots) as they have not received their salary for months and the issue of pilots reinstatement to be decided by you," the court observed.
The court's remark came after the pilots alleged that the management has sought 10 days to hold talks with them before the conciliator and that it was not in a mood to resolve the issues at the earliest.
"No good faith comes from the management. So far only one meeting has been held and the management is yet to ensure the reinstatement of the pilots...," advocate Geeta Luthra contended before the court on behalf of the pilots.
Appearing for the management, counsel Lalit Bhasin told the court that a committee will be constituted and a methodology is to be evolved by the internal management to consider the issue of reinstatement sympathetically which will take some time.
He also said that the pilots have moved Bombay High Court on the issue of reinstatement and also for the re-recognition of IPG. The high court would hear their plea on July 13.
The court suggested that the pilots can withdraw the plea before Bombay High Court and asked the management to consider reinstatement of the sacked pilots. The pilots said they were willing to withdraw their case.
"Sympathy should be heartfelt and should not be lip service. I want the negotiation to be finalised as the pilots have called off the strike...," the court said.
On July 3, the pilots had end their strike after the management assured the court that it would consider the grievances of the pilots.
The court, which was hearing the pilots plea to direct the management to hear their demands, had asked the management to sympathetically consider taking back the 101 sacked pilots, including the 10 office bearers of the IPG and asked the parties to sit before the conciliator and thrash out their issues.
The pilots alleged that the management had created a "hostile environment" by sacking the striking pilots and also by de-recognising their union IGP.