Air India orders pilots to resume work by today evening

New Delhi: With the Air India pilots' stir entering its third day leaving thousands of passengers stranded, the airline has issued an "ultimatum" asking pilots to resume work by this evening. The management's hard line position got a further boost with the Delhi High Court refusing to stay a management order derecognising the striking ICPA union.

While Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) leaders described the management order to resume duty as an ''ultimatum'', company officials said they were merely following court directions. They said they had asked pilots if they could be rostered for duty by 5pm today.

Hardening of positions took place as the 800-odd striking pilots saw their ranks swell as they were joined by another 300 executive pilots.

Menawhile, the Delhi High Court refused to stay the Air India management order derecognising the ICPA. Refusing to stay the management order, justice S Murlidhar issued a notice to Air India Ltd and sought its response on the plea by the pilots' body by 16 July, which has been fixed as the next date of hearing.

AS Bhinder, president of the ICPA which is demanding pay parity among other issues, told reporters that the agitators would resume duty only after the management "makes concrete and time-bound commitments on our demands."

The demands include a higher fixed component in their salary, a CBI probe into management irregularities and removal of AI CMD Arvind Jadhav.