34 sacked AI pilots show willingness to resume duty

After the sacking of 101 pilots during the recent 58-day strike, Air India today said it has received representations from 34 of them expressing willingness to join duty.

While nine sacked pilots yesterday sent in representations against termination of their services and stating their willingness to resume work, 25 such representations were received today by the management of the national carrier, official sources said.

The protracted strike by the pilots, led by Indian Pilots' Guild on issues relating to career progression, was called off on July three after the Delhi High Court asked them to join duty and directed the management to sympathetically consider their grievances. The airline had claimed it incurred losses to the tune of over Rs 600 crore as a result of the prolonged strike.

A three-member Committee, set up by Air India to consider representations of the sacked cockpit crew, asked nine of them to appear before it today, but only one reported.

The Committee would tomorrow start work to dispose off the representations at the earliest, the sources said, adding that it has asked another eight pilots to appear before it in Mumbai tomorrow.

However in the Delhi High Court, the deadlock over reinstatement of the 101 sacked pilots showed no signs of ending with the airline management on Wednesday toughening its stand by dropping its proposal to sympathetically consider the issue after the pilots put fresh conditions.

The management had earlier assured the court that sympathetic consideration would be given on the issue of reinstatement of sacked cockpit crew.

On Air India's withdrawal of its proposal, Justice Reva Khetrapal had observed, "They (pilots) are not in a position to bargain. You (AI lawyer) have a duty towards your client but you also owe a duty towards the court and the society at large and you have to adopt a fair approach". 

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