Mumbai, Jun 18: As the strike by a section of the Air India pilots entered the 45th day, Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today reiterated his readiness to take back the sacked pilots provided they called off their agitation unconditionally and returned to work.
“We are still open to talks, but the pilots are not ready for that. They can be taken back on a case-to-case basis if they called off the strike and came to the negotiation table”, the Minister said.
On hiring new pilots, he said it is up to the Air India management to take a call on as to how my commanders they need.
On the letter written by the AI executive pilots to the minister stating that they were stressed out due to the strike by the IPG pilots, Singh said, he did not receive any such letter.
“What I got was an unsigned letter from some pilots”, he said.
On May 7, the 400-odd erstwhile Air India pilots under the banner of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) went on a strike protesting the AI management's decision to allow the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots to get trained on the Boeing Dreamliners, whose delivery will start from this month-end.
After the strike was declared illegal by the Delhi High Court, the management sacked 101 of them and also de-recognised their union.
As the Minister stuck to his gun that the pilots must call off their strike unconditionally if they wanted him to look into their issues, the cornered pilots abandoned their previous conditions but are now demanding taking them back and recognising their union.