Air India pilots call off strike

Singapore
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Air India pilots today called off their strike after the government intervened in their dispute with the state-owned carrier.

The pilots' representative VK Bhalla told journalists in New Delhi that today the strike has been called off with immediate effect, and the pilots will now return to work.

"The strike is being called off in view of assurances by the civil aviation minister that the status quo will continue," he adds.

The pilots came under pressure from the public and the government, with India's prime minister Manmohan Singh also pushing for a resolution to a dispute that forced Air India to cancel dozens of domestic and international flights.

Last week, Air India announced plans to cut productivity-linked incentives and said 7,000 employees would be affected. This was one of its steps to reduce costs after it made a loss of around 50 billion Indian rupees ($1 billion) for the year to 31 March.

The pilots went on strike because they wanted Air India to roll back the cuts, which vary between 25-50% of their flying allowance.