NEW DELHI, May 8 (PTI): The Air India management on Tuesday warned the striking pilots to return to work by 6pm or face action. Earlier in the day, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh termed the strike by Air India pilots as "illegal". He said the management of the national carrier would take appropriate action.
Singh said the pilots went on sick leave in the midst of their talks with the management of Air India which has led to cancellation of flights.
Four Air India international flights from New Delhi and Mumbai were cancelled this morning after about 100 pilots refused to join work. "They are reporting sick. They have not given any notice for any strike. So whatever the Air India management rules and regulations, action will be taken accordingly," Singh told reporters here.
"In the midst of the talks with the Air India management, they (pilots) started taking sick leaves because of which flights have been cancelled. If their talks with Air India have failed, they could have spoken to the Ministry or to me.
They (pilots) have number of well-wishers," he said. Noting that Air India is currently undergoing a turbulent period and crores of public money is being infused to run the carrier, Singh said every section has grievances and that there are ways to find a solution.
"Strike is illegal. There is a way to launch a strike. Every section has grievances and problems. But there are ways," he said. The minister stressed that the pilots should come to the negotiating table and resolve their issues through dialogue but not launch any strike.
"They can raise their voice, but it is important to continue the talks," Singh said.