Air India may see another strike as pilots oppose Labour Ministry move

New Delhi, Sep 14: National carrier Air India is staring at yet another industrial unrest with a majority members of one of its pilots' unions favouring a strike against a Labour Ministry notification on exclusion of flight commanders from the workmen category.

According to sources, the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) is likely to serve a strike notice to the Air India management in the next two days.

"We would like to inform you (ICPA members) that we are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support shown by our members by participating in the secret ballot and all the four regions have voted in favour of strike," ICPA general secretary Praveen K Keerthi said in a communication to its members.

The Association represents around 670 pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines, most of whom is deployed on carrier's narrow-body fleet.

ICPA had carried out the "secret ballot" exercise across four regions -- North, East, West and South -- between August 31 and September 9 to seek its members' opinion on a whether it should call a strike following the Labour Ministry's notification on exclusion of flight commanders from the workmen category.

Earlier in 2012, the now derecognised Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), which is the wide-body pilots union, had stopped work for 58 days against the Air India management's move to train pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines in the merged entity on Boeing-787 Dreamliners.

Air India may see another strike

As the pilots had refused to budge, the Air India management sacked all 13 IPG core committee members, besides withdrawing its recognition. The IPG remains derecognised till date. Air India and Indian Airlines merged into a single entity in 2007.

"The role of the pilot in command at Air India is of a managerial and administrative nature and so may not fall under the definition of workmen," the Labour Ministry notification had said, thereby barring commanders working with the airline from being part of any union and taking part in any strike.


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