Home Economy Two-hour strike by Air India staff, management unfazed

Two-hour strike by Air India staff, management unfazed


New Delhi : Employees of national carrier Air India went on a two-hour strike at airports across the country Friday to protest the delay in salary payments, but it failed to move the airline management.

“No flights were affected while our employees were on strike,” said Air india executive director for corporate communications Jitender Bhargava.

Maintaining that there was no need for any discussion with employees on the issue, Bhargava told IANS: “We will look into their demand.”

Earlier in the day, the airline management had warned its employees not to go on strike and threatened to cut salaries if they did so. The Air India management also threatened to take action against striking employees.

Airline employees went on a two-hour strike at airports across the country from 1 p.m. Friday to protest the delay in payment of their June salaries. They have also said they could resort to similar agitation later till they got their salaries.

Airlines employees in the national capital demonstrated at the domestic terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport and stayed away from work for two hours.

“We have not decided our future course of action. We are waiting for a response from our management,” said Anand Prakash, the joint secretary of Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU), the largest union of Air India employees.

Under the management’s proposal, the first tranche of payments will go to lower grade employees within two days, while the others will be paid July 15.

But employees are unimpressed, and maintain that the management had backtracked from its June 29 commitment that salaries would be paid July 3.

“If they (airline management) have delayed salary by a day or two, why don’t they give this in writing?” asked ACEU general secretary J.B. Kadian.

Various unions have also demanded a meeting with the management.

Air India is in a financial mess having incurred a loss of Rs.4,000 crore last fiscal, forcing Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to approach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a Rs.10,000-crore (about $2-billion) bailout package for the beleaguered carrier.

The prime minister has in turn suggested that National Aviation Co, which owns Air India, undertake cost-cutting measures to improve its financial condition.