The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) submitted that they had served a strike notice on February 23, proposing to go on indefinite strike with effect from March 9, 2011 to press their demands.
This was revealed in the record of the April 26 meeting, convened by Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) N. K. Prasad, between the ICPA and the Air India management. The pilots went on strike from April 2
The ICPA had submitted that in view of the appointment of a committee headed by Justice Dharmadhikari, a retired Supreme Court judge, to independently and impartially look into all the human resources integration issues — including pay parity, working conditions, seniority etc. —, it was deciding not to press all their demands for the nonce.
However, the ICPA had insisted that the management agree to grant 75 hours fixed flying allowance in a month and layover subsistence allowances of $1,600 for the commander and $1,300 for the co-pilot, as these demands were part of pay parity. They submitted that at this stage the Union was confining itself to two issues alone.
The AI management's representatives had stated that there had been discussions with the ICPA and the management was always open to dialogue to reach amicable solution, the CLC noted.
The AI management representative said that a series of directives issued by ICPA during the pendency of the conciliation proceedings was not helping to sustain a cordial atmosphere and also tarnishing the image of the company, causing it losses and inconvenience to the passengers.
The AI management representative had requested that the ICPA withdraw the strike notice and come for discussions to resolve the dispute. The ICPA office bearers stated that the management had, despite giving repeated assurances and commitments to it and CLC in the past with definite deadlines, repeatedly failed to present any concrete proposal on the two key issues. It said this showed the insincere attitude of the management.
The ICPA stated that the directives were normal, had no bearing on the conciliation proceedings and were issued in the interest of flight safety.
“As the parties stuck to their respective view/stand, the conciliation efforts ended in failure. On the suggestion of CLC, the union was not agreeable towards referring the matter for arbitrations though the management was agreeable to refer the dispute for arbitration,” the CLC observed.
The meeting of April 26 was attended by ICPA President Captain A.S. Bhinder, ICPA General Secretary Capt. Rishabh Kapur and Capt. A..S. Soman. From the management's side, Deputy General Manager (Industrial Relations) Amrita Saran had attended the meeting.