Dogged talks pay off in ending AI strike

While the strike by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), all belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines, began on April 26, the talks between them and the government started on May 4.

It was around 9:30 pm on Friday that the government and the striking pilots announced that they had reached an agreement but both sides remained tight-lipped over what exactly were the points of agreement.

The ICPA is demanding wage parity between their members and the pilots of the then Air India, who fly on international routes. the main issue here is the 75 fixed hours flying allowance. While Air India  pilots have fixed salary, former Indian Airlines pilots are paid on flying hours basis. The details regarding other demands such as working conditions will be worked out.

Despite the agreement, the pilots will still have to sort out the issue in court. The Delhi High Court has issued contempt notice to nine of the ICPA officer-bearers for defying its order to end the strike which has now cost the bleeding airline to the tune of Rs 150 crore.

It is not known to what extent the pilots took their differences with Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav whose presence they opposed at the negotiating table. As a result, Air India was represented during the talks and it was Civil Aviation Ministry representatives  who   spoke to the pilots.

Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi expressed happiness over the pilots ending their stir.
“Their is no ill feeling and there will be no feeling of vengeance,” he said.

Asked about the fate of the contempt notices in the Delhi High Court, he noted that the court has fixed the next date of hearing for May 25.

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