Friday, November 9, 2018

Air India ground staff strike in Mumbai delays over 30 flights - economic news of india - world economic news - economics news for students - indian economy news

Air India ground staff strike in Mumbai delays over 30 flights
More than 30 flights operating through the Mumbai airport were delayed by 2-6 hours after about 400 employees of Air India’s ground handling unit struck work since Wednesday night.Flights were delayed between 11 pm Wednesday and 12 pm Thursday, said multiple people aware of the situation. There were, however, no cancellations, they said.The strike was called by the airline’s wholly-owned subsidiary –– the Air India Air Transport Services (AIATSL) –– over several issues including non-payment of Diwali bonus as well as sacking of some contract workers. AIATSL comprises ground staff responsible for checking in passenger baggage, loading and unloading of cargo and cleaning of planes. It also does third-party ground handling work for some foreign airlines. The strike was called off late on on Thursday night. AI had to summon some of its staff from their homes to normalise operations, said people in the know.Air India management said that there was no issue of non-payment of bonus. “A government law stipulates that any employee who earns less than ?21,000 per month is eligible for bonus and we have paid bonus to our employees. The real issue is regarding employees who have been fired due to indiscipline,” said a senior official at Air India Engineering Services.He added that the union members have complained to everyone about the sacking of four of their colleagues. “These four employees were sacked because of indiscipline, as they misbehaved with a supervisor. Chances of these men being taken back are impossible,” the official said.A person in the know said reconciliation meetings are now on but didn’t specify which direction it would take.The strike is happening at a time when the beleagured national carrier is trying hard to shore up its finances and operations with a fresh turnaround plan after the government’s plan to sell stake in the airline company failed after finding no takers.Like the previous time, the fresh turnaround plan involves cash handouts and transferring a part of the Rs 29,000 crore of its Rs 55,000-debt and dues to a separate entity. The carrier, like its peers, continues to grapple with rising fuel prices, falling rupee and the impact on margins due to price wars in a highly competitive aviation market.Air India is not new to such industrial actions, primarily after its merger with the erstwhile domestic national carrier Indian Airlines in 2007. Prior to that, Air India handled the entity’s international operations. Issues included lack of parity in salaries and career projection trajectories between employees of the two erstwhile airlines in the merged entity.
Source: ET