AI stir enters 7th day, Govt calls pilot strike meaningless

Last Updated: Mon, May 14, 2012 12:19 hrs

Dubbing their seven-day-old stir "meaningless" after a court order, Government today refused to hold talks with the agitating pilots till they resumed work, as harried passengers got no respite with 14 international flights being cancelled.

"As the pilots are not ready to call-off their strike and join work, we have cancelled 14 international flights from Delhi and Mumbai," an Air India official said. Hundreds of passengers were stranded following the flight cancellations.

The pilots, who are on strike since Tuesday, are not ready to relent from their stand until their demands are met. They have also refused to accept Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh's call to come to the negotiating table after withdrawing their strike.

Talking tough, Singh said,"Whatever issues they have raised for this strike have already been resolved or not possible to do anything. By the court order, therefore, this strike is meaningless now." The Delhi High Court had last week called the stir by a section of pilots as illegal.

"Why would anybody talk to everybody...There is no point. This is not negotiable. They struck on certain issues, those issues are not there anymore. Let them withdraw(their strike), we will then review what should be done then," he added.

The Indian Pilots Guild, spearheading the pilots' stir, submitted some documents to the Civil Aviation Ministry today to prove its claims on the career progression issue, accusing the management of not giving a 'clear picture" to the government on their issues.

"Some of our office bearers today met ministry officials and submitted documents regarding our claim," IPG sources told PTI.

A few IPG leaders had also gone to the residence of Ajit Singh and submitted the same set of papers. Singh was in Parliament at that time.

IPG has demanded it be allowed to place its issues to the government "without the interference of the Air India management."

When asked whether there were any back-channel parleys with the government to break the deadlock, the sources said no such talks were held.

"We have neither had direct nor indirect talks with the government so far. Also, there is no meeting scheduled with the Minister as of now," IPG sources said.

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