Holding that nobody should maintain a stubborn stand,Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today said if pilots on strike returned to work,the government was willing to discuss all issues with them.
“It is not an issue of being stubborn… we are going to take a long-term view. If they want to talk,they should come to work,and all issues can be discussed… The high court has declared their strike illegal,” he told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Parliament House office on Air India issue.
He was asked whether it was the stubborn stand adopted by pilots and the government which was prolonging the stalemate.
On his meeting the Prime Minister,Singh said he shared information with him. “Whatever we are doing (to resolve the issue) is being done as per policies by talking to everyone involved,” he said.
He said as far as Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft is concerned,nothing can be done about it as the Supreme Court has said that all employees have a right to get trained on it.
“It (Dreamliner) was the original issue when they went on strike. As far as the issue of career progression is concerned,Dharmadhikari report deals with this and similar issues.
“A discussion is on in the ministry on how to implement it. We will talk to the affected people when we implement the report,” he said and questioned the need for Air India pilots to go for an “illegal strike.”
Singh also ruled out the possibility of imposing provisions of ESMA on striking pilots.
To a question that a sitting NCP MLA is president of Indian Pilot’s Guild,he said trade unions don’t go by political leadership.
Singh said aviation regulator DGCA has cautioned the airlines not to increase fares in view of the Air India strike. “They will check whether fares have been hiked due to the strike,” he said.
To a question on Kingfisher promoter Vijay Mallya writing a letter to employees threatening action and promising salaries at the same time,he said Kingfisher issue has been there for some time.
“We are involved with Air India because it is a government company,and not Kingfisher,” he said.
Singh said the government has approved a turnaround plan for the national carrier and the Cabinet has given a go ahead to infuse Rs 30,000 crore in the next nine years.
“To save Air India,we need cooperation of the employees as it is their company. If Air India won’t survive,then there is no meaning of the issues they are raising. Unions need to understand this,” he said.
He skirted a reply on whether those sacked could be taken back,saying reporters should ask this question to the Air India management.