A strike at Air India, the India-based, state-owned airline company, has now been running for seven days.
The airline continues to face major disruption to the fifty international flights that it schedules each day, as two hundred pilots continue to call in sick in protest at their perceived lack of training privileges. The industrial unrest will affect another thirteen international routes today. To date over fifty international flights have been cancelled, to many of the world’s major cities, including London. The action has lead to many passengers being stranded and Air India has now stopped taking international long-haul flight bookings until May 15.
The dispute is expected to cost the airline USD2m per day, a blow to an organisation that is already struggling financially, and which only recently received a USD6bn bailout package from the Indian government.
The dispute relates to the pilot’s assertion that there is a lack of training privileges for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, compared to domestic route pilots. The airline has refused to recognise the Indian Pilot’s Guild, which is representing the striking airmen, as they did not give strike notice. This has resulted in a total of seventy-six of the pilots now having been sacked for failing to report for work, and the company’s management declaring the strike illegal and refusing to negotiate with the pilots unless they return to work.
A similar strike took place for ten days last year, and is thought to have cost the company in the region of USD3.3m.