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Air India pilots continue strike despite ESMA warning

Publish Date: 30 Apr 2011, 12:09 PM
Last Updated: 30 Apr 2011, 12:16 PM
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ICPA general secretary Rishabh Kapoor
ICPA general secretary Rishabh Kapoor

New Delhi: It seems that nothing is deterring the striking Air India pilots from calling off their agitation against the national carrier’s management. Neither order of the high court nor the organisation’s warning to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) is dousing the fire.

Till now nine pilots have been dismissed, however none of them have resumed work. Slamming the Air India’s warning of invoking ESMA, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) president Capt AS Bhinder and general secretary Rishabh Kapoor said that only the government could invoke ESMA rather than any company.

They said that around 31, 000 employees of Air India were ready to go to jail.

“Unless there is a CBI probe into the alleged mismanagement under Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav, we will continue our strike,” Bhinder said.

The ICPA should also be recognized again, he added.

Bhinder described the Air India scam bigger than the 2G spectrum scam and demanded the the Niira Radia tape allegedly speaking about the AI management’s intention to sell it to a private airline should come to public view.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court refused to stay management’s order of de-recognising their union. The court has also recommended the Chief Justice to begin contempt proceedings against the pilots.

The next hearing is slated for May 16 and the court will hear the petition filed by the management on May 2 seeking contempt proceedings against the pilots.

Meanwhile, CPI-M leader Prakash Karat said that de-recognition of ICPA was wrong and the management should reach a consensus with the striking pilots.

So far, the passengers are bearing the brunt of the agitation as 279 flights were cancelled and only 39 were operational out of 320, including Jumbo service between Delhi-Mumbai.

The already cash-strapped airline has suffered a loss of Rs 26.5 crore.

JPN/Bureau

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