Home India News Talks begin between Air India management, pilots

Talks begin between Air India management, pilots


New Delhi : The Air India management Monday began talks with the Delhi faction of the agitating executive pilots here, even as their strike entered the third day, forcing cancellation of at least 11 flights out of the national capital alone.

Speaking to IANS, a senior airline official expressed hope that a solution would emerge in the meeting.

“We have already agreed to most of the demands by the pilots. The Delhi section of the pilots have also demanded their PLI (productivity-linked incentives) arrears which they haven’t got for the last three months,” said the official, requesting anonymity.

Despite Air India Sunday agreeing to look into their grievances, particularly the PLI, the Delhi faction of executive pilots said they would continue the strike till the management also conceded their demand and paid them their last three months’ salary arrears.

“We are not giving up our fight until they agree to pay the PLI for three months and other arrears. The PLI constitutes the major chunk of our salary,” V.K. Bhalla, who represents senior executive pilots, told IANS.

Bhalla also accused Air India managing director Arvind Jadhav of creating confusion among the pilots.

Jadhav flew in from Mumbai Monday afternoon to meet the pilots. Air India has its head office at Mumbai.

While most pilots around India have given up their agitation, their colleagues in Delhi are still adamant. At least 11 flights from Delhi had to be cancelled Monday.

The airline Sunday decided to constitute a committee to look into the PLI modalities.

About 100 executive pilots reported for work between Friday and Sunday midnight, while according to another Air India official, executive pilots based in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata resumed duty Monday.

The civil aviation ministry has called a meeting of all airlines Tuesday to discuss the situation arising out of the Air India pilots’ agitation as well as a similar protest by their counterparts in the Jet Airways earlier this month.

The Air India agitation began last week after the management’s decision to slash the PLIs of employees by 25 to 50 percent as part of cost-cutting measures. The airline’s current debt is about Rs.16,500 crore and its losses stood at Rs.7,200 crore in fiscal 2008-09 that ended March 31.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday condemned the national carrier’s decision to slash the wages and PLI of its pilots and demanded the government’s intervention in the Air India strike.