M A I N   N E W S

Air India sacks 6 striking pilots
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, April 27
The Air India (AI) management today declared illegal a flash strike by a section of its pilots, de-recognised the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) and sacked six union leaders.

The 800-odd striking pilots belong to the erstwhile Indian Airlines and owe allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA). The merged entity-NACIL-has about 1,200 pilots. The ICPA claims that while AI pilots enjoy a big fixed salary component, it is minuscule for them - former IA pilots.

The management has also appealed to pilots to rejoin duty and not act on "illegal instructions of the now de-recognised ICPA".

The Delhi High Court has asked the pilots to end the stir immediately.

Civil Aviation Minister Vyalar Ravi welcomed the High Court decision and termed the agitation as "most irresponsible". The pilots have decided to continue with the strike. They say their strike is also against Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav, who was "responsible for the mismanagement and losses to the airline". They are also seeking legal opinion. Ravi, who is a well-known trade union leader, said: "Nobody can dictate terms to the government."

"Moreover, this (ICPA) is not a union. It is an association of extremely well-earning persons. Unions are of workers," he added. Around 24 flights were cancelled and nine flights were combined due to the strike. Striking pilots also wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking his intervention. The company said that in the event of flight disruptions, cancellation or combination or delay of more than one hour, full refund would be given. (With inputs from Shiv Kumar in Mumbai)





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