New Delhi: The Air India pilots strike entered its sixth day on Monday with no end to miseries for travelers. The Delhi High Court will initiate contempt proceedings against the agitators, after they defied its orders to resume duties by Monday.
The 850 pilots on strike will on Monday have to tell the court why they haven't returned to work. The pilots staying adamant even after Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav accepted mistakes made in the past and sent an SMS to Air India employees urging them to persuade the pilots to resume work.
"Risking our airline's survival at this time is criminal. We all condemn corruption in public life, and culprits must be punished", Jadhav said, adding "all actions spoken of (by the pilots) are unforgiveable".
On the sixth day of the pilots strike on Sunday, nearly 90 per cent of the domestic operations were hit.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, ICPA General Secretary Rishabh Kapoor said that there was no way that the pilots would blink first.
"We had great hope from the minister, but we still don't blame him. Mr Jadhav has misled the ministry and continues doing it. As long as he is around, I see no way the airline can function. There is not a single employee who is satisfied. If the minister does not get him out and get someone else in, the CBI will get to him. It's a matter of time," said Rishabh Kapoor.
The global operations also included flights to and from the US, UK, Europe, Southeast Asia (Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong), China and the Gulf, he said, adding 42 regional flights were also operated.
The curtailed operations schedule till next Friday has been finalised and put on the airline website and the airline has stopped all domestic bookings till Tuesday.
The Delhi High Court last week came down heavily on striking pilots for defying its order to resume work. This followed Air India management moving the court seeking contempt proceedings against the pilots.
Observing that the strike by pilots was an act that was "wilful, brazen and smacks of sheer arrogance", the court had said that "prima facie the conduct of these pilots would be covered within the definition of criminal conduct within the meaning of the expression in Section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act".
Regarding the executive pilots reporting sick and not joining duty, it said "this conduct of mass sick report smacks of collusion and even contrived sickness with the intent to create a defence for their not joining duty. The same renders such persons liable for initiation of appropriate proceedings against them for criminal contempt".
(With additional information from PTI)