Under HC pressure, AI pilots defer strike till Mar 31

New Delhi: With the Delhi High Court restraining Air India pilots from going on strike on March 16, the pilots on Tuesday night decided to defer their action till March 31 following the setting up a three-member committee by Civil Aviation Ministry to examine the wage parity issue.

"We decided to defer the strike till March 31 after we received the letter from the Ministry about constitution of a three-member committee headed by retire Supreme Court judge DN Dharmadhikari," Captain Rishabh Kapoor, General secretary of Indian Commercial Pilot's Association (ICPA) said after a 10-hour tripartite meeting with the carrier's management and the Chief Labour Commissioner here.

The committee will submit its report in 5 months but Air India management told the CLC that it will give an interim proposal to Civil Aviation Ministry by March 31 on the wage parity issue, Kapoor added.

The other members of the committee include Professor R Dholakia from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Rajeshwar Dayal.

"We are trying our best to avoid this strike. We also want peace and no disruption in airline's functioning. We are leaving no stone unturned. But if the management, despite putting in writing, fails to resolve the issue, then we would be left with no option but to go on strike," Kapoor said. Earlier, the Delhi High Court restrained the pilots from going on strike on Wednesday.

Justice Gita Mittal, in an order, directed the ICPA to adhere to their statments made before the court that they will not take the coercive step till the concilliation proceedings headed by the Chief Labour Commissioner concludes.

The ICPA, which represents around 800 pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines, had served a 14-day strike notice on February 23 charging the management with having failed to address their grievances and violated agreements on issues like pay parity and better working conditions.