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Indian strike hits major airports

LEFT IN THE LURCH: Anxious passengers crowd a closed Indian counter at the New Delhi airport as flights were delayed or cancelled due to a strike by the ground staff on Wednesday. The Delhi High Court has declared the strike prima facie illegal.

LEFT IN THE LURCH: Anxious passengers crowd a closed Indian counter at the New Delhi airport as flights were delayed or cancelled due to a strike by the ground staff on Wednesday. The Delhi High Court has declared the strike prima facie illegal.   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: V.V. KRISHNAN

Sandeep Joshi

Passengers stranded due to cancellation, delay in operation of flights

23 employees served suspension notices, legal action initiated against striking unionGovernment might consider lock-out if strike continues beyond Wednesday

NEW DELHI: The flash strike by the employees of State-owned carrier Indian since Tuesday night has badly hit major airports across the country. A large number of passengers were stranded due to cancellation of or delay in flights.

Despite the Government serving suspension notices to 23 employees and initiating legal action against the striking union on Wednesday, employees decided to continue with their stir till their demands were met.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel termed the strike as "illegal" and "unwarranted" as negotiations between the management, the union representatives and the Chief Labour Commissioner were at an advanced stage regarding career progression and parity in the post-merger scenario.

Notice served

The management also served a notice on the Air Corporation Employees' Union (ACEU) representing Indian's over 12,000 cabin crew and ground staff.

Mr. Patel said, "Despite the fact that arrears are not payable in loss-making public sector undertakings, the Ministry had agreed to pay a package of Rs.267 crore as wage arrears to Indian employees and an agreement on this issue with the union and with the employees had been finalised. Their demand on career progression had also been agreed upon. However, just before the final agreement could be reached, the employees have gone on a strike without giving any notice to the management."

Mr. Patel warned of more stringent action if the strike was not called off by Wednesday evening, besides withdrawal of the financial package offered to the employees. . Indian CMD Viswapathi Trivedi held talks with the workers at the Delhi airport but to no avail.

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