Govt hold fresh talks with striking AI pilots

Air India services remained crippled for the ninth day with the airline managing to operate only 10% of its services.

Last Updated: May 05, 2011, 18:20 PM IST

New Delhi: A fresh round of talks was held
between Government and striking Air India pilots on Thursday to sort
out a few sticking issues in a bid to end the 9-day-old stir.

With both sides stating that the parleys are moving in
the right direction, they are hoping that an early resolution
to the agitation may emerge soon.

Air India services remained crippled for the ninth day
today with the airline managing to operate only 10 per cent of
its services which is about 40 of its daily 320 flights.

After the first round of talks yesterday, Civil
Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi "many points have been covered.
There are one or two points left." He, however, did not
elaborate.

Striking a positive note, Rishabh Kapur, general
secretary of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA)
which is spearheading the strike, said, "The talks are moving
forward and going in a positive direction."

The ICPA, which claims a membership of over 800, has
received support from many unions including that of their
colleagues from the erstwhile Air India, Indian Pilots Guild
(IPG).

Besides pay parity with them, ICPA is seeking CBI probe
into alleged mismanagement and corruption, withdrawal of
flights from profitable routes and aircraft purchases.

Air India, which has sacked seven pilots and suspended
six others, is suffering an estimated operational loss of Rs
26 crore per day on account of the stir. The management has
also decided not to process the April salaries of the
agitators till further instructions.

Delhi High Court on Tuesday slapped contempt notices on
nine office bearers of the de-recognised ICPA for disobeying
its order to call off the strike. It would take up the matter
again on May 25.

The pilots are also demanding that all sackings,
suspensions and transfers effected during the strike period be
revoked, ICPA`s recognition be restored, the contempt of court
petition filed by Air India management be withdrawn and all
other issues be tackled in a time-bound manner.

PTI