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High court slams Air India's striking pilots

News18

Updated: April 28, 2011, 5:43 PM IST
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High court slams Air India's striking pilots
The striking pilots of ICPA are demanding parity in pay with the Air India pilots.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday slammed the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) which is on strike since Tuesday midnight forcing the national carrier Air India to cancel and reschedule around 100 flights.

Pulling up ICPA, Justice Gita Mittal said: "Think properly about what is going on. Sickness, education and many more urgencies are affected by cancellation of flights."

The flag carrier had moved a contempt of court plea against ICPA, which continued its strike into Thursday defying the court's order for suspending it.

The judge told ICPA to abide by law and said the court will make sure that Air India also does the same.

"You (ICPA) abide by the law and the court will ensure that the plaintiff (Air India) also abides by it," said Justice Mittal

"You have the dispute that you are paid less. However you are being paid something," Justice Mittal said. The hearing in the case will resume 4 pm.

The court had on Wednesday stayed the flash strike by 600 pilots of ICPA but not before slamming the management for not addressing their demands for some two decades.

The striking pilots of ICPA - of the former Indian Airlines, which merged with Air India later - are demanding parity in pay with the Air India pilots and other issues related to work conditions.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Vyalar Ravi said the 1,600 pilots of Air India get a total pay of about Rs 800 crore annually - an amount that is equal to the annual emoluments of the remaining 28,000 employees of the airline.

"(But) Only these pilots have problems. The rest of workers and other staff are co-operating, they understand the difficulty in which Air India is, but only these pilots who earn above Rs 3 lakh (per month) have problems," Ravi had said on Tuesday.

According to a spokesperson for the National Aviation Company of India Ltd, co-pilots of Indian Airlines, now co-opted into the merged Air India, earn as much as Rs 225,000 to Rs 325,000 per month, while a commander draws between Rs 400,000 and Rs 500,000.

First Published: April 28, 2011, 5:43 PM IST
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