Air India crew, engineers on flash strike (Lead, Changing dateline)

May 25th, 2010 - 3:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai/New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Over 15,000 crew members and maintenance engineers of Air India went on a flash strike all over India Tuesday, hitting the carrier’s operations, according to airport sources.
An Air India official, however, claimed flight operations were “normal and the management has no information of the strike”.

Airport sources said Air India crew members and maintenance engineers went on strike for their various demands, including delays in payment of salaries.

Union sources said that on account of the sudden agitation, AI operations at most airports across the country had been severely hit and several flights were delayed.

“There were 4-5 issues for the strike, and the latest was a gag order issued by the management. There are 12,000 engineers and crew of Air India with us and operations are severely affected,” said Anand Prakash, general secretary of Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU).

Airport sources in New Delhi said that the employees started gathering at the Palam airport at around 1.30 p.m. as the shifts start changing from 2 p.m.

“Their aim was to gather more people. Among the issues that has forced employees to go on strike were non-payment of salaries and controversy on serving liquor on board,” said a protesting employee.

The national carrier had earlier ordered 50 percent cut in the productivity-linked incentives (PLI) to save about Rs.700 crore. PLIs currently account for 30 percent to 50 percent of Air India employees’ wages. PLIs have not been paid since August.

Air India officials, however, claim that operations are not affected by the strike.

“They have just now gone on strike and as of now all flights are on time. We have to wait and see whether the strike will affect the operations. It is a time of crisis and the employees should cooperate with the management,” an airline spokesperson said.

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