New Delhi June 11: With Air India considering further crackdown on the striking pilots, the government today said it is for airlines management to decide for how long to keep them on their payroll when they are not working.
It "is for the Air India management to take action now. These pilots have not come to work for more than 30 days....It is an illegal strike. They have defied the High Court," Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said.
"We have requested them again and again to come back to work. So, it is for the management to decide for how long can they keep them on their payroll when they are not working. And they have no intention of coming back," he told reporters.
Around 400 Air India pilots owing allegiance to Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) have been on strike since May 7 and the services of 101 pilots have already been terminated.
Sources in the state-owned airline have said "tough action" would be taken against the remaining 300-odd pilots and have given indications that they could be sacked.