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AI Union Threatens Strike; Management Calls Them For Talks

Days after a major Air India staff union served a strike notice for May 31 to protest delay in payment of salaries, the airline management has called its representatives for a meeting on Thursday. "We have sent
PTI May 19, 2010 19:30 IST
PTI

Days after a major Air India staff union served a strike notice for May 31 to protest delay in payment of salaries, the airline management has called its representatives for a meeting on Thursday. 

"We have sent a strike notice to the management and the Chief Labour Commissioner stating our intention to go on strike on May 31 to protest deferment of our May salary, ground-handling policy, appointments on compassionate grounds and other issues," Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) General Secretary J B Kadian said.

The mandatory 14-day notice for the strike was served on the management on May 15, Kadian said.  Reacting to the strike threat, an Air India spokesperson told PTI in Mumbai that "a meeting with the union has been called in New Delhi tomorrow".

The ACEU claims representation of 12,000 members of the erstwhile Indian Airlines including ground-handling and technical staff and cabin crew.  ACEU is part of the Civil Aviation Joint Action Front (CAJAF), a joint platform of 11 recognised trade unions in National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) which has also decided to launch an agitation to protest delayed payment of wages and other issues.

The Forum is also demanding implementation of the recommendations of two Parliamentary Committees, which includes creation of two separate domestic and international airlines under a single holding company, the NACIL.

"We will launch an agitation and gradually build it up by holding demonstrations and other forms of peaceful protests. A decision on a strike will be taken by all the 11 unions, including those of pilots and cabin crew," CAJAF spokesperson V J Deka said.

CAJAF would meet next week to decide on a strike call, he said.

 Besides protesting the delay in salary payments, CAJAF is demanding that several recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committees on Public Undertakings and Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture on Air India, be implemented.

Deka said the CAJAF was also protesting the "lack of facilities" for staff members in the newly-built Terminal-3 of the Delhi airport, which would be opened on July 3.

The facilities, which exist for the staff at the present location of Air India at Terminal 1-B, include canteen and parking facilities.

"These facilities are not being provided to the staff in the proposed new terminal. If the management or the airport operator doesn't decide on these minimal things, we will be constrained to decide not to shift to the new terminal," Deka said. PTI