AI pilots may end strike to resign

May 27, 2012, 07:59 IST | Bipin Kumar Singh

The strike, which is in its 20th day today, may end, but pilots say they will take the step only to get their termination letters so they can look for better jobs elsewhere

The Air India pilots, who have been agitating for the past 19 days, may give up soon. And it is not because they don’t want to fight for their cause, but because they want to resume their jobs and formally resign to explore better opportunities elsewhere.

Agitating pilots, including those who have been terminated, spoke to Sunday Mid Day about the lack of effort by the airline’s management to end the stalemate and the future course of action.

An Air India ticketing counter during the strike  Pic/Vijay Bate

“We have given so many years to this airline but we have to fight it out with the management for every small issue. The strike has entered its 20th day but we do not see the management taking any concrete step to end the standoff. All we can do now is give up on the issue, join work and later move on to better jobs in other airlines,” said an agitating Air India pilot on the condition of anonymity. More than one dozen pilots plan to do the same.

“We are tired of fighting with the management — be it about our salaries or our career graphs. We can definitely find a better work culture and prompt paychecks in other airlines,” said another pilot. Sunday MiD DAY has, in the past, reported about pilots quitting Air India due to the unprofessional work environment. On September 29, Mid Day reported on how a large number of pilots quit Air India. Sources confirm that more than one hundred pilots have quit Air India in the past one year due to the airline’s poor work culture. “Air India is in a mess. The management, which blames the pilots, never looks at its top officials’ irregularities. They have made its Maharaja a pauper,” said another pilot. Insiders also maintain that the airline is facing a severe pilot crunch and if the pilots resign in groups, the situation may deteriorate further.

Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) president and senior NCP functionary, Jitendra Awhad, said, “The management is thoroughly unprofessional and is very poor as far as industrial relations are concerned. Many pilots want to resign due to the poor work atmosphere and bad policies, but the airline is not ready to relieve them.”

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