The indefinite hunger strike by Air India pilots entered the second day Monday even as the Aviation Ministry and the management refused to budge to their demands.
About 400 pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG, now derecognized) have been striking from May 8, demanding parity in pay and career progression in Air India.
On Saturday, the pilots announced that they would go on a hunger strike and fast, in batches, for 48 hours from Sunday to protest the indifference shown to them by the government and the management.
Our agitation has entered the 48th day and no one has even spoken to us. We want to get back to work and someone needs to tell us how we can do that. Private airlines are going full and benefitting from the stalemate in AI, said Sumit Dhir, a sacked commander, according to a TNN report.
IPG maintains that they are ready to resume work if all the sacked pilots are reinstated. The management has agreed to take back all pilots, except the office bearers of the now derecognized union.
The Aviation Ministry refused to accept the striking pilots' demands and said that pilots should join work unconditionally.
We want them to come back (to work). All they have to do is to come back unconditionally to work. They never gave a notice (of going on strike). High Court has said it is illegal. I don't even know what the issues are. They don't know themselves. So, what can we do? Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told IBNLive.
They have the right to go on hunger strike. It will be good for their health. It is (only) for 48 hours anyways, he added, in a lighter vein.
The pilots' strike has cost the debt-ridden airline losses worth more than 5,300 million rupees.