AI pilots move court over non-payment of salaries

A section of striking Air India pilots yesterday said they have moved the Delhi High Court against the non-payment of their salaries for March.

“Our strike started on May 8. We have worked in March and April, then why have our March salaries been stopped? We moved against this in the Delhi High Court yesterday (Monday),” said Rohit Kapahi, committee member of Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG).

Fire and hire: Air India has sacked 101 pilots and has also advertised for hiring new ones. File pic

The matter is likely to come up for hearing today. The airline paid March’s basic salary to its employees in May-end and January’s production linked incentive (PLI) June 8, after it received Rs.1,200 crore out of budgetary allocation for fiscal 2012-13.

Airline officials refused to comment on the issue. But sources in the carrier claimed that the non-payment of salaries was on account of disciplinary action.

The development comes a day after the airline mulled the option of sacking 300 more striking pilots. Air India has already axed 101 pilots. It has also advertised for engaging new ones.

The 36-day-long strike has severely hit Air India’s international operations, with the airline only operating 38 out of its 45 services. Among the seven axed international destinations are Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul and Toronto.

“Our losses on account of grounded fleet and unused manpower remains within the Rs 5-6 crore per day range. Operations to northeast Asia have been hit badly, so have services to the US and Europe,” an Air India official said.

Representing aviators of Air India, IPG went on strike May 8 against the move to train their counterparts from the erstwhile Indian Airlines on the soon-to-be-inducted Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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