Air India decided to sack over 300 pilots who have been on strike for more than a month now over salary, promotion and training disputes, despite repeated calls to return to work, media reports said on Monday. Aviation Minister Ajit Singh gave an indication of that this morning when he said the management of the national carrier would have to decide soon how to deal with the pilots who were on an illegal strike and showed no sign of getting back to work.
“It is for the Air India management to take action now. These pilots have not come to work for more than 30 days….It is an illegal strike. They have defied the High Court,” the Minister said.
Air India has already sacked 101 pilots during the 35-day-long agitation; a new business plan and promotion strategy was announced 10 days ago.
The pilots who went on a mass sick leave are adamant they won’t return till all the 101 sacked pilots are taken back. The Air India management is yet to take a final call.
The cash-starved airline is currently flying 38 of the 45 international flights it operates normally and is said to be losing Rs 10-15 crore daily due to the strike called by pilots belonging to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) union.
The guild of pilots mainly from the pre-merger Air India, which was recognized as the strike began last month, has however said the airline does not intend to resolve their disputes and wants to escalate matters.