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Air India pilots threaten strike on March 9

Air India`s flight operations could face a major disruption on March nine if a section of its pilots go on strike, a 14-day notice for which was served to the airline management.



Mumbai: Air India`s flight operations could
face a major disruption on March nine if a section of its
pilots go on strike, a 14-day notice for which was served to
the airline management here on Wednesday.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), which
represents pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines, served the
strike notice under Section 22 of the Industrial Disputes Act
to airline CMD Arvind Jadhav.

The management, on its part, warned the ICPA to "desist
from any action which would breach peace and harmony and cause
inconvenience to our valued passengers" and said it has sought
the "immediate intervention" of the Chief Labour Commissioner
to avert the strike.
Charging the management with having "failed" to address
their grievances, including pay parity and better working
conditions, the union protested the "withdrawal" of flights
from profitable routes "to benefit private airlines".

The pilots` body said they were "compelled to issue the
strike notice on account of the actions of the incompetent and
dishonest handling of industrial relations by the higher
echelons of the management".

ICPA General Secretary Capt Rishabh Kapoor said they have served "the mandatory notice to the management
today. We will strike work on March 9".

The union claimed that "various dates and deadlines have
come and gone and the management has failed to keep its
promises and assurances". As a result, the erstwhile Indian
Airlines` pilots have been "incurring heavy financial losses".

The ICPA also alleged "racial discrimination in their
own country perpetrated by the national carrier", indicating
the differences in pays and perks offered to the expatriate
pilots Air India has kept on its rolls.
Apart from differences in salaries and working
conditions of pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines and Air
India, the ICPA members are protesting the regular instances
of delay in payment of salaries, "violation" of a Memorandum
of Settlement signed in November 2009 and management`s
"failure" to implement the 6th Pay Commission recommendations.

The ICPA is also demanding payment of arrears since "at
least the date of merger" of the two airlines in 2007.

While the ICPA represents around 800 pilots of the
erstwhile Indian Airlines, the erstwhile Air India pilots are
represented by the Indian Pilots Guild.

PTI

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