Jet Airways pilots on Sunday deferred their April 1 strike plan by another two weeks, hoping that their salary dues would be cleared by then.
At separate open houses in Mumbai and Delhi conducted by their union, the National Aviators Guild (NAG), members decided against going on strike.
Their decision came hours after the airline credited 87.5% of pending dues of their December salaries. “Pilots have decided that time be given to the new interim management till April 14 to clear salary dues,” a communication sent to the 1,100-odd NAG members said.
The letter said, “The collective [strike] call is hence deferred to April 15.”
Senior pilots said most of the NAG members were not in favour of going on strike. “They are all young and don’t want aircraft to be on the ground but keep flying. In fact many of them have been asking to be rostered for duty on the few flights that continue to be in operation,” an official said.
Officials informed that though former chairman Naresh Goyal had announced his stepping down on March 25, he actually ceased to hold the position only from March 29. “It was on March 29, that the State Bank of India (SBI) received a letter to this effect in the format it had sought. This had caused the delay, but the moment it happened, SBI released funds that were used to clear pending dues,” a senior official said. Among the consortium of banks, only SBI has released funds, he added.
Senior pilots said that under the present circumstances going on strike would be like arm-twisting the government directly. “There is just the CEO, officiating with his limited powers. The interim board is yet to be formed. The same is the case with the interim managing committee and there is no chairman. The SBI is yet to formally get on board,” a senior official said, explaining that a strike now would not yield the desired results.