Air India Management Moves Mumbai High Court Against Striking Employees

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From Sources: Eugene Moodubelle

Mumbai, 26 May 2010: As if the horrendous tragic crash of Air India Express IX-812 at the Bajpe Airport  on the morning of Saturday, 22 May 2010, was not enough,  nearly 20,000 Air India Employees have gone on strike resulting in the cancellation of 76 international and 58 domestic flights since Wednesday, 25 May 2010, putting thousands of passengers to a great deal of anxiety and inconvenience. Incidentally, The protest came after Air India asked union officials to respond to claims that they had disclosed sensitive information following Saturday’s Air India Express crash at Mangalore that killed 158 of the 166 people on board. Moreover, the striking employees are also protesting over a delayed payment of wages.

The striking staff includes engineers and cabin crew. Airline has decided to cancel the flights after analysing the situation of the availability of executive engineers. Flights cannot be operated till they get the approval from aircraft engineers. Air India decided to cancel the flights as a large number of engineers have abstained from duty on May 26. 

The flash strike by the Air India employees has put to inconvenience thousands of passengers who are stranded in various airports in the country.  The first round of talks between the Air India Management  and the leaders of the striking employees that was held in the forenoon of 26 May 2010 remained inconclusive. However, Arvind Jadhav, the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India said informed  the media persons that the  talks  with the  striking employees are still on and they were to hold the second round of talks at around 3pm today. The Air India Employees Unions have rejected  the appeal of the CMD to end the strike unconditionally.

Meanwhile, the Air India Management has moved the Mumbai High Court  against the striking employees. Moreover, the Central Government, in an attempt to crush the strike has backed the Management’s move to sack the striking employees. Praful Patel, the Civil Aviation Minister said that the stike by the Air India employees is illegal and their action is irresponsible. He further said that such actions require harsh measures.

It is believed that the latest strike action by the Air India employees is evidence of the troubles afflicting the loss-ridden airline and its friction between the management and its employees, belonging to a dozen unions. The airline said that the strike was restricted to a section of ground workers.

Aviation analyst Kapil Kaul said that the strike by the employees, days after one of the worst accidents in its history, ‘reflects no concern for the organisation’. “It is a wake-up call for the government - the situation is so deep that their continuing inaction could be fatal for the company," Mr Kaul said. He said that the government had given a $168m bailout to the ailing airline and promised $252m more.  Analysts say that the airline’s 30,000 employees should be slashed by half to make it competitive. Air India has a fleet of 136 aircraft flying to domestic and international destinations.



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