Santanu Choudhury, Bloomberg
New Delhi: Indian Airlines Ltd, the country’s second-biggest domestic carrier, said more than 12,000 employees have threatened to strike work tomorrow and on 18 May after demanding payment of decade-old arrears.
The Air Corporation Employees Union, the biggest of the state-run carrier’s seven unions, informed the management that members would remain absent from work for the two days, Ashok Sharma, Indian Airlines spokesman, said in a phone interview in New Delhi, where the carrier is based.
“We have approached the central labour commissioner to intervene as it’s illegal to give only two days notice for a strike,” Sharma said. “We have asked them to come for talks today and refrain from taking this action.”
Indian Airlines is also preparing a contingency plan to maintain smooth operation of flights in the event of a strike, Sharma said.
“Most of the union’s members are in administrative posts and only a small percentage is deployed at the airports,” he said. “There could be some disruption, but we don’t expect any major disturbance.”
Pilots and engineers of Indian Airlines, which the federal government proposes to merge with Air India Ltd, the country’s biggest overseas carrier, won’t be part of the strike, Sharma said.
J.K. Badola, general secretary of the Air Corporation Employees Union, said the union’s representatives were unable to achieve a resolution of their demands during meetings with Indian Airlines Chairman and Managing Director Vishwapati Trivedi on 11 and 12 May, the Business Standard reported today.
The payment of 10 years of wage arrears totals about Rs5 billion ($123 million) for Indian Airlines, the report said.