Court bans strike, Air India to continue normal operations

Justice Gita Mittal, issuing the stay order, said: "Conciliation is pending and there is no threat to go on strike. It is further submitted that there is no intention of the defendants to violate any statutory provisions."

The judge further directed the pilots union to adhere to their earlier statement, in which they postponed their strike, in the view of conciliatory steps taken by Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi.

"The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) shall remain bound by the statement made on their behalf on March 7 and shall insure the statutory provisions prohibiting strikes during the pendency of the matter."

A senior Air India official told IANS that the pilots union has agreed to accept the court's order and will have to reply to it in four weeks.

Earlier, the same group of pilots had postponed their planned strike from March 9 after an initiative taken by Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi.

ICPA, a group of pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines, now merged with flag carrier Air India, had served the strike notice Feb 23.

The association claimed that there were differences in salaries and working conditions of pilots of Indian Airlines and Air India and that the management has violated the memorandum of settlement signed in November 2009 on implementing the sixth pay commission recommendations.

The ICPA is also demanding payment of arrears since the date of merger of the two airlines in 2007.

The ICPA represents some 800 pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines.Air India has also said that all efforts are on to stave-off the strike.

"All our efforts are currently concentrated towards staving off the strike," a senior Air India official told IANS.

The talks between Ravi and ICPA had failed to break the deadlock last week.
"I patiently heard what the association had to tell me. They raised some immediate concerns which I will take up with my secretary and the airline management soon," Ravi had told reporters.

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