After 58 days, AI Pilot’s called off strike

MUMBAI:  The Air India Pilots, who are on strike for the last 58 days, has return to work on Wednesday  after the Delhi high court asked them to join duty within 48 hours and the management to sympathetically consider their grievances.

Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) announced their decision after their meeting on Tuesday.  In their late night statement, IPG thanked the Indian judiciary, especially the Delhi high court, “for mediating in this issue, which is critical to the survival of Air India and is in the national interest”.

It said that as directed by the high court, the IPG looked forward to negotiations with the AI management on all pending issues in the presence of the chief labour commissioner.

“We sincerely hope that the AI management and the civil aviation ministry will be as sincere on their part. On this understanding, we are commencing the process of restoring normalcy of operations,” said IPG general secretary E A Kapadia.

The pilots went on strike on May 7 over demands for better career progression. The airlines management took a tough stand sacking 101 pilots including 10 office bearers of the IPG which was also derecognised.

Justice Khetrapal, who also sought a report from the conciliator by July 9, was hearing an application of the IPG which had alleged that the management has created a “hostile environment” by sacking the striking pilots and also derecognising it.

The court directed the pilots as well as the management to appear before the conciliator, chief labour commissioner N K Prasad, on July 6 at 4.30pm.

Appearing for the management, Bhasin said the court should not entertain the pilots’ plea as they are in contempt.

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