India’s National Carrier Flights Stalled as Workers Go on Strike

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Over 400 ground staff of Air India’s subsidiary, Air Transport Services Limited announced their strike on Wednesday, demanding holiday bonus and reinstatement of sacked workers. The ground staff perform a variety of jobs ranging from loading/unloading bags to cleaning aircraft. They take care of ground handling for some foreign airlines as well.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Hundreds of passengers were met with utter chaos at the Mumbai airport on Thursday morning as Air India's contractual workers went on strike demanding the reinstatement of their sacked colleagues.

READ MORE: Air India Flight Attendant Falls Off Parked Plane, Suffers Multiple Injuries

"Due to a sudden industrial situation at Mumbai airport by AIATSL (Air Transport Services Limited) employees, some flights have got delayed. We are assessing the situation and all efforts are being made to minimize delays or disruption," Air India spokesperson said on Thursday.

Flights bound for Bangkok and Newark were most affected with around six hours' delay.

Meanwhile, Air India stated that permanent employees have been deputed to normalize the flights.

The Indian government has been trying to sell its stake in Air India for months but due to high debt and huge number of workers, the proposition did not garner the interest of potential buyers.

In January this year, over 400 contractual employees were terminated from service, coming from: Air India Air Transport Services Limited, Air India Charters Limited, Airline Allied Services Limited and Air India Engineering Services Limited.

Last year in August, the management had put on hold proposals for employing retired officials as well as renewing that were due for an extension.

AIATSL provides ground handling service at the 70 airports in India. Apart from handling the flights of Air India and its subsidiary companies, ground handling is also provided to 33 foreign scheduled airlines, three domestic scheduled airlines, four regional airlines, 12 seasonal charter airlines, 23 foreign airlines availing perishable cargo handling. The number of staff inducted on contract under various categories as on 31 March 2017 was 7242.

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