The Delhi High Court Thursday slammed the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) which is on strike since Tuesday midnight forcing the national carrier Air India to cancel and reschedule around 100 flights.
Pulling up ICPA, Justice Gita Mittal said: “Think properly about what is going on. Sickness, education and many more urgencies are affected by cancellation of flights.”
The flag carrier had moved a contempt of court plea against ICPA, which continued its strike into Thursday defying the court’s order for suspending it.
The judge told ICPA to abide by law and said the court will make sure that Air India also does the same.
“You (ICPA) abide by the law and the court will ensure that the plaintiff (Air India) also abides by it,” said Justice Mittal
“You have the dispute that you are paid less. However you are being paid something,” Justice Mittal said.
The court had Wednesday stayed the flash strike by 600 pilots of ICPA but not before slamming the management for not addressing their demands for some two decades.
The striking pilots of ICPA – of the former Indian Airlines, which merged with Air India later – are demanding parity in pay with the Air India pilots and other issues related to work conditions.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said the 1,600 pilots of Air India get a total pay of about Rs.800 crore annually — an amount that is equal to the annual emoluments of the remaining 28,000 employees of the airline.
“(But) Only these pilots have problems. The rest of workers and other staff are co-operating, they understand the difficulty in which Air India is, but only these pilots who earn above Rs.3 lakh (per month) have problems,” Ravi had said on Tuesday.
According to a spokesperson for the National Aviation Company of India Ltd, co-pilots of Indian Airlines, now co-opted into the merged Air India, earn as much as Rs.225,000 to Rs.325,000 per month, while a commander draws between Rs.400,000 and Rs.500,000.