The Bombay High Court has pulled up national carrier Air India for banning its pilots' union without following the due process and not assigning valid reasons. The ban had been enforced after AI pilots struck work for nearly two months over issues related to career progression, causing a loss of over Rs500 crore to the airline.
The court has asked the airline management to bring out to their knowledge of all the reasons which lead to the ban. The ban was enforced after pilots went on two-month long strike over career progression issues causing loss of over Rs 500 crore to the airline.
A bench of justices SJ Vazifdar and AK Menon termed AI's order of de-recognition to be bad in law as the carrier had not heard the petitioner, Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG), before taking the decision.
The court has now directed the airline to issue a show-cause notice, asking the union as to why it should not be de-recognised. The union will be required to file its reply to the notice in three weeks. Following receipt of the reply, AI should hear the union within four weeks by giving it a 10-day advance notice, said the court, adding that AI would then pass a fresh order within four weeks.
"Needless to add that all the contentions of the parties, are kept open. For instance, it will be open for the petitioner to contend that events subsequent to the alleged strike also ought to be taken into consideration" the court further said.
The strike was called in May 2012 by over 400 pilots attached with IPG. More than 100 pilots were later sacked by the management and the union de-recognised.
The strike was called off after the interference of Delhi High Court, which asked the Air India management to solve the issue at the earliest and take by the striking employees back.
The management in its reply assured that pilots will be taken back on case to case basis, except for 13 office bearers of the union, who lead the protest.