Agitating Air India pilots call of stir
"Things have been sorted out. The management has assured us that they would pay a part of due allowances by 20th of this month, a part of rest by 20th February and clear our dues by March," A S Bhinder, President of Indian Commercial Pilot`s Association — an association of erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots, told PTI. The pilots would resume their duties, he added.
Protesting non-payment of their salary and allowances, a section of Air India pilots went on a "no-pay-no-work" agitation from midnight Friday night. A total of 52 flights, 44 from Delhi and eight from Mumbai, were cancelled causing inconvenience to hundreds of passengers. Top ICPA leaders–President Bhinder and General Secretary Rishabh Kapur–had two rounds of discussion with Air India CMD Rohit Nandan and top officials till late tonight.
They pointed out that the payment of productivity-linked incentive (PLI) and flying allowances have been pending since last August, sources said. The flying allowances constitute 80 per cent of the pay package. The airline management Saturday paid the pilots their due salary of November 2011. While most of the long-haul international flights to destinations like London, New York, Toronto, Tokyo and Chicago operated as scheduled, flights to or from Kabul, Kathmandu, Muscat and Abu Dhabi remained cancelled.
Confusion prevailed at the IGI Airport here with a large number of passengers queueing up at Air India counters to find out the status of their flights as several domestic flights were delayed and some others combined. Sympathising with the pilots, Indian Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said "the employees have a problem, they have not been paid for one-two months. Allowances have not been paid for quite a few months now. We understand their problem but Air India`s finances are in a bad condition. Their accounts were frozen on Friday."