Air India crew, engineers go on flash strike

Mumbai/New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Protesting delay in the payment of salaries and a gag order, 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.

Several flights got cancelled due to shortage of man power, according to union sources.

Flights IC 264 (Delhi-Kolkata), IC 805 (Delhi-Mumbai), IC 469 (Delhi-Ahmedabad) and IC 849 (Delhi-Pune) were cancelled, a source said.

A union member said they were trying to talk to the management since the past few months but to no avail.

‘Time to time, they differ on our salary. The introduction of a new ground handling policy will affect us, and due to shortage of cabin crew, flights are getting delayed. We are on an indefinite strike and till the management sorts out the matter we will remain on strike,’ said Anand Prakash, general secretary of the Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU).

A recent gag order asking employees not to talk to the media added fuel to the fire. The ACEU members decided to go on strike after the order.

An Air India official denied cancellation of flights and said only one flight to Pune was cancelled.

‘Among the issues that forced employees to go on strike were non-payment of salaries and a controversy over 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.

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