The services of 17 employees, including union leaders who led the 33-hour strike in Air India, have been terminated and 15 engineers suspended, airline CMD Arvind Jadhav said Wednesday night.

“This strike was illegal. We have to bring in accountability and need to fix responsibility. Whatever action has to be taken, we have to go the whole hog. We do not want to compromise at any cost. We have to come (down) with a heavy hand,” Mr. Jadhav told reporters soon after the strike was called off after Delhi High Court restrained the agitators from continuing their stir.

“We explored all avenues. And after that we knocked the door of the High Court which felt there is need to restore the services”, he said.

The services of 17 employees, including some union leaders, have been terminated and 15 engineers have been suspended, Mr. Jadhav said.

“We want NACIL to become a professional, accountable and disciplined organisation. The Management is trying to ensure discipline. We are grateful to the Government of India for backing us”, he said.

However, Air Corporation Employees Union General Secretary J.B. Kadiyan earlier replying to questions on sacking and suspension of employees maintained that Chief Labour Commissioner S.K. Mukhopadhyay, mediating between the two sides, had given in writing that no victimisation can take place when the conciliation process was on.

Asked how long would it take to restore normalcy, the Air India CMD said it normally takes two days to restore normalcy on flights and schedules. “First, we have to clear the backlog, then we have to make sure that the routes are normalised and flights restored.”

On Thursday, Air India would operate 78 flights to clear the backlog, he said.

Mr. Jadhav said the national carrier had approached the railways to carry passengers in three-tier air-conditioned coaches. “We also received cooperation from Jet Airways, Kingfisher, IndiGo, GoAir and others.”

To questions on the demands regarding wages and other issues raised by the unions, he said “we have not said no to anything. But for that, we have to sit before the Chief Labour Commissioner. Wages issues have to be (linked) with productivity and accountability”.

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