A section of Air India pilots, technicians and employees on Thursday marched to Parliament demanding immediate government action to save the cash - strapped national carrier.
The employees, holding Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav responsible for the present condition of the airline, also demanded his removal and regularisation of the payment of their due salary and productivity linked incentive.
“We do not want to go on strike, but the way we (the employees) were being held responsible for the present situation, our patience has ran out, so if we do not get any response from the management we will be forced to go on strike from November 24, as decided,” Indian Commerical Pilots’ Association (ICPA) President Captain Shailendra Singh said.
Giving an ultimatum to the management, the ICPA, Air Corporation Employees’ Union (ACEU) and Indian Airlines Technician’s Association (IATA) and Indian Airlines Officer’s Association (IAOA) said if the employees do not get their due salary and PLI by November 24, all 32,000 employees would be forced to go on strike.
Alleging that Air India management was closing all profitable routes, instead of loss making ones, General Secretary of ACEU J B Kadian said that “this is a systematic approach to sabotage the company and we are being projected as the reason being the current financial situation.”
On one hand they ask for our suggestion but they are not considering the cost-cutting suggestions given by the unions, Mr. Kadian said, adding “this clearly shows that the CMD is not interested in implementing or taking our advices in consideration, but more interested in working towards closure of our company.”
The protesting employees, mostly from the erstwhile Indian Airlines, alleged that when Air India and Indian Airlines were merged they were told that it was being done for the profit of the company but “now we are apprehensive about the survival of the company.”
Later, the employees handed over a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil and MPs demanding their intervention.
On Tuesday last, a group of Air India pilots staged a silent march at the domestic airport in Mumbai to protest delay in payment of their salaries and allowances.
First round of conciliation process before the Central Labour Commissioner between the airline management and the pilots ended without any result here.
Both sides are to appear before the CLC on November 20.