AI pilots may be forced to strike again

Pilots affiliated to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) could well strike work again if the Air India management failed to discuss reinstatement of all 101 sacked pilots. According to unnamed pilot sources, cited by Firstpost, pilots would be left with no other option, as the management was not willing to hold talks with them.

The striking pilots called off their 58-day-long strike last Tuesday following orders from the Delhi High Court, in which it also asked the airline management to sympathetically consider reinstating the 101 sacked pilots. It had called for the report of the conciliation proceedings to be submitted to it by 9 July.

Firstpost, citing a  senior civil aviation ministry official, said the airline had time till 13 July to revert its decision and that talks should continue. However, the pilots said it was apparent from the management's attitude in court today that they were not interested in reinstating sacked pilots.

On Friday, pilots and airline officials met for a four-hour-long conciliation proceeding before the deputy chief labour commissioner (CLC), but the meeting yielded little by way of a resolution.

''Unfortunately, the Air India management did not reciprocate our goodwill gesture of reporting back to work,'' IPG joint secretary Tauseef Mukadam said after the meeting on Friday.

Claiming that the management representatives had nothing to offer to resolve the stalemate, he said, ''They simply asked for more time to consider our demands.''
Meanwhile, the failed strike by a section of Air India pilots with none of their demands conceded, brought home some ground realities for the high fliers as also others, according to analysts.

The first was about the limits, if not futility, of industrial action even by a highly specialised and highly-trained workforce, at a time of uncertain business conditions, both internal and external to the organisation. The second concerned the reasonableness of demands, in the eyes of the management as also the public in general they point out.