Ajit Singh chairs Air India unions meeting to end impasse
New Delhi, May 21 (ANI): Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh on Monday chaired a meeting with unions from Air India ,as the strike by pilots entered its 14th day.
Members of 13 unions of Air India were called for the meeting.
General Secretary of the Air India Engineering Association, Pradeep Bhogale had earlier said the main focus of the meeting would be the Dharmadhikari Committee Report.
"A very important issue is the Dharmadhikari Committee Report. The Dharmadhikari Committee was constituted to integrate the erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines and up till now no union or association is aware of the content of the report," Bhogale said.
Appealing to the striking pilots to return to work, Singh had earlier said that the strike by pilots was illegal, and they should come back to work in the larger interest of the passengers.
"When Justice Dharmadhikari Committee Report is expected, there is no reason for the strike and the pilots should come back to work," he added.
He assured that there will be no victimization by the government and management will look into the problems of the pilots.
Asserting that the Delhi High Court had already declared the ongoing strike as illegal, Singh said: "More recently, a two-judge bench of the Delhi high court rejected the pilots' plea challenging the earlier verdict. This is a peak time for airlines and the pilots should have stayed away from striking work."
"The government recently approved a Rs.30, 000 crore package for Air India for the next 10 years.. The pilots have not just jeopardized their jobs, but that of all Air India employees. They should have some loyalty towards passengers and Air India. How will they get their dues and salaries if Air India does not survive? They should have met me before going on a strike," he added.
About 500 Air India pilots who fly international routes have been demanding that their colleagues from Indian Airlines should not be trained to fly Dreamliners, as they believe it may hurt the career prospects of original Air India staff.
Both companies were merged in 2007, but there have been problems with integration. Air India's purchase of Dreamliners was also criticised by a central auditor last year for "imposing an undue long-term financial burden".
The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) had on April 25 decided to raise airport fares, including User Development Fee (UDF), by 346 percent for two years.
The newly introduced UDF at the Delhi airport seems to be upsetting many. Passengers and airlines would now have to pay 346 percent more as compared to what they paid to the airport operator-the GMR Group-along with its consortium.
As per the airports regulator order, the UDF for international travel would be rupees 845.50 for outgoing passengers travelling between 2,000 -5,000 kilometres and Rupees 699.17 for incoming ones.
For those traveling beyond 5,000 kilometres, the UDF would be rupees 1,068 for outgoing and rupees 881.10 for incoming. (ANI)
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