Friday, November 27, 2009

Air India Strike Looms Again Threatening Airfreight Cargo Service

No Resolution After Pilots Walk Out on Penultimate Meeting
Shipping News Feature

INDIA - After Praful Patel, India’s Aviation Minister managed to persuade the pilots of Air India to return to work in October after the September strike, it seems that all efforts to resolve the situation may be in vain after all. No resolution to the situation surrounding a review of performance linked incentives has been forthcoming and it would seem only a last ditch meeting, scheduled for 30th November, holds any hope of preventing an all out stoppage.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) are adamant that all passenger and air freight services will cease immediately should the meeting not produce positive results. Earlier this month the situation became so fraught some support staff actually went on hunger strike to demonstrate the gravity of their situation when wages were not forthcoming.

The meeting with management yesterday produced a mass walk out by ICPA members as the company reiterated the parlous state of its finances. ICPA have objected to the company’s irregular pay policy and demanded clear and uniform rules for amounts and dates of remuneration. Rather than strike immediately the next meeting will be between chief labour commissioner S.K. Mukhopadhyay and the pilots as relations with the company management appear to be at an all time low.

The state of its finances and industrial relations has meant Air India will not launch the budget airline which it saw as a potential growth area for the company. Nobody from state owned Air India, which lost a reported £625 million pounds last year, was available to comment.