Talks between Air India management, pilots fail

Talks between Air India management, pilots fail

New Delhi: The talks between the agitating executive pilots and the Air India management on Monday failed with pilots claiming that the airlines had refused to withdraw the cut in Productivity-linked Incentives.

Air India chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav held about two hours of talks here with the agitating pilots, who have not reported to duty for the last three days feigning sickness, with an aim to finding a solution to the impasse.

“The talks have ended in a stalemate as the management refused to give a positive reply over the payment of our due salary and withdrawal of PLI-cut order," Captain VK Bhalla, representative of the agitating pilots, told reporters here.

“The salary of the pilots will be paid with the cut but he (Jadhav) refused to give any exact date or time when it will be paid to us," he said.

“As of now, our stand is what it was earlier," Bhalla added.

Air India spokesman Jitendra Bhargava also said the talks had remained “inconclusive." He said further talks would be held but its venue and time had not been decided.

A section of executive pilots have resorted to agitation in protest against cut of up to 50% in PLI.

After the talks, the Air India issued a statement saying that orders had been issued for payment of PLI and flying allowances of July, payable in August and it would be disbursed immediately.

“The schedule for payment of salaries and PLI for coming months will be finalised in consultation with financial institutions and communicated to employees shortly," it said.

The Air India management also expressed openness “for discussion on the composition of the committee of executive pilots (senior pilots)."

Jadhav on Sunday held about four-hour-long talks with some agitating pilots in Mumbai, after which the management decided to set up a committee “exclusively" to look into pilots’ concerns over the cut in their PLI.

However, the agitation by the pilots continued, resulting in cancellation of 14 flights from Delhi. Two flights were also cancelled from Chennai in the morning before the pilots decided to call off their stir there.

Ahead of their talks with Jadhav, Bhalla said the Air India CMD should give “an indication that he is serious about resolving our demands instead of creating confusion and is ready to work for the benefit of the airline and its pilots."

He said the pilots wanted to “end this issue. But our CMD has other intentions."

Earlier, Bhargava said pilots are on “leave" only in Delhi and Kolkata as those in Chennai had returned to work.