Air India Pilots "Land" Allowances
Its official now. At a press conference Praful Patel, Civil Aviation Minister, Government of India today promised the protesting pilots of Air India (AI) that the proposed pay-cuts wont be introduced before consulting them. He also said that in the light of this assurance there is no reason why the pilots should stay away from duty now.
As reported earlier here by the same reporter the pilots were on a sick leave as a mark of protest since Saturday to protest the pay cut. Now with the assurance of the Civil Aviation Minister it is hoped that the agitating pilots will return to work.
AI has already stopped booking further tickets till next notice in wake of the disruption. The concern of 180 agitating senior pilots seems to be addressed for now with the clarification of minister and notice from AI that the full salary for the month of September has been deposited to the respective accounts of the pilots. Even though the issue of pilots seems to be out of the way a group of 60 non-union aircraft maintenance engineers in Delhi have also threatened to join the strike on Wednesday. Similarly junior pilots in Mumbai too have expressed their "moral support" for the agitating colleagues. It is noteworthy that the proposed move is supposed to affect nearly 7000 AI employees.
Hopefully the final decision would be reached through consensus and the passengers would not have to feel the burnt of such agitation again.
While the AI officials were still tensed about the strike it was a windfall profit for Indian Railways as many passengers were forced to travel by trains as AI flights were grounded due to the agitation. Officers from Central Railways (CR) went to the Chatrapati Shivaji Domestic Airport in Mumbai to advertise their services while Western Railways (WR) opened a special telephone line (10721) to answer the queries of passengers about reservation availability. CR had started a non-stop train from Mumbai to Kolkata on Monday (Duranto Express with running time of 26 hours between Mumbai-Kolkata) and hoped to advertise the same to the stranded passengers.