Labour Commissioner calls AI union, management for talks

New Delhi, Feb 23 (PTI) With a strike threat by AirIndia pilots looming large, the Regional Labour Commissionerhas called the union and the management was tripartite talkshere on Monday.

The Regional Labour Commissioner has issued notices tothe management and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association(ICPA) which has threatened a day''s strike on March nine.

Despite the strike call, the ICPA has expressed"complete support and cooperation" to the government wheneverit takes a decision on evacuating Indians from the strife-hitLibya.

In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi,the ICPA said it would extend "complete support andcooperation for evacuation of the people of our country inLibya".

ICPA General Secretary Rishabh Kapur said the pilotswould carry out this job "on an honorary basis,notwithstanding any FDTL (Flight Duty Time Limitation) andpayment, as we have done in the past".

He also blamed the airline CMD Arvind Jadhav for"deceiving us by repeatedly going back on his word" and"provoking us for the last two years" by taking no action onthe agreements reached during the period and on various otherissues.

A week before the ICPA strike call, the only otherpilots'' body in Air India, Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), had alsothreatened a strike on issues similar to that of the ICPA.

While the ICPA represents about 800 pilots of theerstwhile Indian Airlines, the IPG represents the cockpit crewof the pre-merger Air India.

However, after a meeting with the management, the IPGleaders are understood to have decided not to precipitate thematter now.

The ICPA has served a 14-day strike notice chargingthe management with having failed to address their grievancesand violated agreements on issues like pay parity and betterworking conditions.

The union, which is also protesting the "withdrawal"of flights from profitable routes "to benefit privateairlines", said they were "compelled to issue the strikenotice on account of the actions of the incompetent anddishonest handling of industrial relations by the higherechelons of the management".

The ICPA also alleged "racial discrimination", chargingthe management with "benefiting expat pilots who have beenengaged to fly Air India routes" and underutilising Indianpilots. It has also accused the management of violating a 2009Memorandum of Settlement and failing to implement the 6th PayCommission recommendations.

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