Air India Strike Over

Saturday, 7th May 2011 at 04:56am

The Air India pilots have called off their 10-day-old strike after the government agreed to look into their complaints of wage irregularities, reinstate the sacked and suspended pilots and restore recognition to their union. They were requesting wage parity with pilots of the then Air India, who fly on international routes.

Over 800 Indian Airlines pilots belonging to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA ) returned to work last night.

Following 5 hours of negotiations between the Union President, Capt A S Bhinder and Civil Aviation ministry officials, all the pilots sacked and those suspended during the incident would be reinstated. ICPA, which was declared to be 'unrecognised' soon after the agitation started, will be recognised again, it was reported.

"Government has given us assurances that they will look into all our demands including our complaints of irregularities against the airline management," Bhinder said. One of the major sticking points was the demand of the pilots for compensation of 75 'fixed flying hours allowance', which their Air India colleagues get.

The striking pilots had been demanding that all sackings, suspensions and transfers affected during the strike period be revoked, ICPA's recognition be restored, the contempt of court petition filed by Air India management be withdrawn, a CBI probe into the alleged corruption and mismanagement be ordered and all other issues be tackled in a time-bound manner.

Air India had sacked 7 pilots and suspended a further 6.

The airline had stopped taking bookings for five days during the strike period. The strike that crippled Air India's domestic operations saw the pilots climbing down from their demands for immediate pay parity.

It is estimated that the airline has suffered operational losses of Rs 150 crore (3.3 million dollars).

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