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Live: Air India pilots say Delhi HC gave confidence to call off strike

by FP Staff  Jul 4, 2012 10:55 IST

10.51am: Kapai says that pilots have already begun the procedure to return to work, and added that conciliation procedures with the management of Air India would begin on 6 July. The court in its order directed the pilots as well as the management to appear before the conciliator, Chief Labour Commissioner NK Prasad, on July 5 at 4.30pm.

In response to a question by a reporter about the ten pilots who would not be reinstated by the Air India management, Kapai said that all these issues would be brought up with the management during the conciliatory process.

10.45am: Following an undertaking to the Delhi Court in which the IPG promised to get to work in 48 hours, the IPG has broken its fast in Jantar Mantar. "We are hopeful that the Delhi High Court order will be a binding order on both sides", said Rohit Kapai, an IPG spokesperson, addressing the media in Delhi.

The pilots will report to work in the next 48 hours: PTI

The IPG spokesman said that they were especially hopeful as the presiding judge in the Delhi High court had specifically asked for an update after the facilitation process. He added that the impasse between the two sides had necessitated intervention from an outside party, which the Delhi High Court had provided through its ruling.

The pilots decided to call off their strike after AI management assured the court that it would consider the grievances of the pilots “sympathetically”.

“Serious efforts have been made to settle dispute and the counsel for the parties have assured the court that their respective clients will be extending full cooperation in this regard,” the court said.

“The AI management shall sympathetically consider the grievances of the pilots including the aspect of reinstatement of those pilots who were terminated as a consequence to their strike,” Justice Khetrapal said while disposing of the pilots’ plea for a direction to the management to take back the 101 sacked pilots, including the 10 office bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild.

The airline has been incurring heavy losses particularly on its international routes due to the strike.

The strike started on 8 May when pilot members of IPG went on mass sick leave, protesting the move to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.

After putting forth an original list of 14 demands, the aviators are now asking for reinstatement of their 101 sacked colleagues.

The airline has maintained that pilots must first end their strike and the sacked pilots will be reinstated on a case-by-case basis.

The airline has suffered an estimated revenue losses of more than Rs 610 crore. A grounded fleet of Boeing 777s, unused manpower and absence from key routes have hit the airlines’ chances of a financial turnaround.

The strike has crippled Air India’s international operations, stranding thousands set to fly to East Asia and the Middle East.