Air India pilots threaten to go on strike once again

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Chennai, Nov 5 (ANI): Pilots of national carrier Air India on Thursday threatened to go on strike again if their flying allowances and other salary arrears of the past two months are not been paid to them by November 10.

The pilots threatened to go on strike from November 24 in that case.

The decision was taken at the Indian Commercial Pilots Associations (ICPA) central committee meeting at the Air India house (complex) in southern Chennai on Thursday.

The ICPA, a union formed by 800 erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots, had sent a 14-day strike notice to the Air India management on Monday (November 02).

The irked pilots say that foreign pilots employed by the airline are being paid more than them.

"Our demand is that our salaries... that is flying allowances is a major part of the salaries has not been paid for two months and the foreign pilots who are employed by the company are being paid approximately 30 percent more than what we are being paid and apart from other allowances and perks, they are also being paid on time.," said Captain Sabu, secretary of ICPA.

Trashing reports that the airline is incurring losses due to recession, Sabu said that despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assurance, the Air India management has not paid any heed to their grievances.

"The entire airline as whole is suffering now and the Honourable Prime Minister had promised in his Independence Day address that he would not allow Air India to die away. But we do not see the management following it up.

"The management is not taking even a single step in the right direction. We have given them a number of suggestions on how to revive this airline and to improve our finances but they do not seem to be interested in that."

"They are only talking about pay cut from all the employees. No, recession has got absolutely nothing to do with this because we still see that our planes are going full, most of our flights are going full. There are passengers travelling," he added.

The airline declared a loss of billion dollars in the financial year March 2009, while in September, around 400 Air India executive pilots went on mass sick leave for four days to protest pay cuts, resulting in more than 200 flights being cancelled and the airline losing more than rupees 100 crore (one billion rupees). (ANI)

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