Under pressure from various quarters, the derecognised Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) Thursday appealed to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to open channels of negotiation and accused the Air India management of backtracking on its commitments.
"The ministry has failed to respond to the offer for talks. IPG is willing to meet with officials of management/ministry at any place at any time in order to resolve the impasse," the IPG said in a late night statement, appealing to Ajit Singh "to open a channel of negotiations".
The IPG listed in detail the backgrounder leading to the current impasse, starting from the pre-merger days of Air India and Indian Airlines till now -- its members have resorted to mass sick leave for the last three days, leading to complete disruption of the Air India network.
Claiming arbitrariness and discrimination between pilots of Air India and the erstwhile Indian Airlines, IPG said the management gave $2,000 per month hikes to all Indian Airlines pilots and even decided to train them on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner without waiting for the report of the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee.
"As we are aware, the AI is not only posting losses, it has also been unable to pay salaries on time. Despite all of this, the management granted a salary raise to pilots of the erstwhile IA," IPG said.
"The co-pilots of erstwhile IA are being promoted to captain's grade in five to six years time, whereas the co-pilots of the AI take around 9-10 years for the same promotion. We urged the management to ensure parity in terms of time for promotion with the pilots of the IA," it said.
Last week, IPG said it had detailed negotiations with the Air India management to resolve career progression issues of Air India pilots.
By late Sunday, IPG claimed that Air India had arrived at a broad agreement on the core issue of parity and decided to finalise and sign an agreement the following day (May 7).
"On May 7 (2012), the management completely backtracks from the agreement arrived at the previous day. This shows that it was never serious about the discussion held over the previous four days," IPG claimed.
Despite an appeal by IPG, the management refused to reconsider its stand to build upon the tentative agreement arrived at between them.
Attempts by IPG to contact the ministry failed to yield any response, the minister appealed to the 'sick' pilots to report for duties by 6 p.m. last Tuesday while the Air India management derecognised the union and has so far terminated 26 pilots.