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Air India employees march to parliament

Thursday, November 19, 2009 (16:14:53) Tags: business, aviation, Air India, ICPA New Delhi: A section of Air India employees including pilots today organized a march to parliament to pressurize the government to regularize their salaries without cuts. The employees also demanded the removal of Arvind Jadhav, chairman and managing director of the National Aviation Co of India Ltd (NACIL) that owns Air India, and held him responsible for the deterioration of the loss-making carrier. According to the president of the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), Shailendra Singh, nobody in the airline wanted to go on strike. "But if we do not get any response from the management and continue to be neglected, we will be forced to go on strike from November 24," Singh warned. Air Corp Employees' Union general secretary J.B. Kadian accused the management of sabotaging the company by closing profitable routes instead of loss-making ones. ACEU claims to have a membership of 21,000. Besides ICPA and ACEU, members of other associations like the Indian Airlines Officer's Association (IAOA) also took part in the protest march. The airline, which posted a loss of Rs.7,200 crore last fiscal, have paid salaries for October but without incentives, which constitute a major chunk of the pay packages of its 31,500 employees. NACIL had on Tuesday said it would continue with the present performance-linked incentives (PLI) as passenger load has picked up. The carrier's domestic market share, which was 16.6 percent in August, rose to 17.5 percent in September and climbed to 18.6 percent last month. It also said it was trying to the clear the incentives due for October soon and that in future, the delay in payment of incentives would not be more than a month. Based on a monthly review of Air India's cost-cutting measures, the group of ministers on civil aviation, led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, has recommended an equity infusion and assured of support of Rs.400 crore by January. (IANS)