New Delhi: In a major crackdown, Air India on Tuesday sacked 10 agitating pilots, de-recognised their union and sealed its offices as around 160 of them failed to join duty. As many as four international flights had to be cancelled because of the strike.
The pilots on Tuesday morning reported sick after their talks with management for a time bound career progress failed.
By noon, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh shared his disappointment and promised to back the management.
"The management can take action. We will back them," said Singh.
Following the statement, by afternoon, 10 office bearers of the IPG were sacked, the guild was de-recognised and their offices were sealed. The message is clear " no more arm-twisting the airline to meet the demands of the pilots.
However, the president of erstwhile IPG, also a colleague of former aviation minister Praful Patel at the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), called the move undemocratic.
Meanwhile, the Air India management has put in several measures to minimise passenger inconvenience.
The executive pilots were ordered to operate international flights and several routes were combined. Passengers were also accommodated into other private airlines if and where possible, converting few wide bodied routes into narrow bodied so they could be operated by existing pilots.
The AI management is not willing to talk to the pilots of de-recognised union. However they hope that the sacking will prompt the rest of the pilots to join back work. Till that time passengers will have to brace themselves for more cancellations in the coming days.