A-I staff strike work over Diwali bonus in Mumbai, flights hit

As many as 37 Air India flights, including some international ones, were affected on Thursday after a section of employees of the national carrier’s ground handling subsidiary, Air India Air Transport Services (AIATSL), went on a flash strike against non-payment of Diwali bonus and other issues, an official said.

The employees of AIATSL struck work at the Mumbai airport from the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, demanding payment of Diwali bonus and reinstatement of three of their colleagues whose contracts were not renewed by the company, he said.

AIATSL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the national ca­rrier, provides ground ha­ndling services to Air India across airports in the country. It has about 5,000 employees, including those on contract. “Some AIATSL em­­ployees at the Mumbai ai­rport are on strike since Wednesday-Thursday (inte­r­vening) night over non-pa­y­ment of Diwali bonus and reinstatement of the services of some of their former colleagues. This stand-off has resulted in flight operations getting hampered,” the official said.

He said around 37 flig­hts, including international ones, were delayed by 2.5 hours-3 hours till 1500 ho­urs on Thursday. However, no flight has been cancelled so far, he added. Air India has pressed in­to service its permanent employees to handle the gr­ound handling operations at the Mumbai airport, the official said.

“The company has alre­ady paid the bonus after negotiations but the employees are now insisting that the services of three of their colleagues, whose contracts were not renewed last mo­nth, be restored,” he said.

“Negotiations are going on between the striking employees and the AIATSL management to resolve the issue,” the official added.