The Delhi High Court has asked all striking pilots of India's national air- carrier Air India to end their strike within 48 hours.
Disposing of the plea of the striking pilots on Tuesday, Justice Reva Khetrapal told the 434 pilots who have been on strike for 58 days to give joining reports and the terminated pilots to submit letters to the management indicating their willingness to get back to work.
During the hearing, Air India management assured the court that it would "sympathetically" consider the employees' grievances, including the aspects of reinstatement of 101 pilots who had been sacked during the strike for calling in sick or not showing up to work.
The Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG), representing the striking pilots, and Air India management have been directed to appear before the conciliation officer, Chief Labor Commissioner N.K. Prasad, on Thursday for talks to end the stalemate.
He is supposed to submit a report to the court on the outcome of the talks on July 9.
IPG denied the Air India lawyer's claim that the strike had been called off, instead, it said the striking pilots will submit within 48 hours their willingness to return to work.
It insisted on taking all the 101 sacked pilots back and restoring the recognition of the pilots' gild.
More than 400 pilots have been on strike since May 7 in protest against the Air India management's move to train pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines in the merged entity to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane.
Dozens of flights have been canceled because of the strike, which has cost the government nearly Rs 6000 million rupees ($110 million).
The Indian Airlines pilots became part of Air India after merger of the two companies in 2007.
Air India, which normally operates 320 flights daily, is currently running on the strength of a government approved debt-restructuring plan worth nearly $6 billion.
by RTT Staff Writer
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