Loaders’ strike at Thiruvananthapuram airport delays flights

Thiruvananthapuram, May 14 (IANS) A flash strike by around 300 loaders at the international airport here Tuesday delayed flight departures .

Rajendra Das, trade union leader of the Thiruvananthapuram International and Domestic Contract Workers Union, told IANS that the strike was called after talks between labour officials, workers and the management over a hike in salary broke down.

“The monthly salary of a loader is Rs.7,250, which was fixed in 2011, when just eight flights operated in a day. Now there are around 15 flights everyday. The workload has increased,” Das said.

“We demanded a hike of Rs.2,500 per month, but the management was willing to give Rs.1,800. They say that the present agreement is valid till October 2013. All outgoing flights were delayed by up to half an hour. The loaders will not return to work until an amicable settlement is reached,” Das added.

The loaders are attached to Air India-Singapore Airport Terminal Services Ltd (AISATS), a joint venture of Air India.

An AISATS statement released Tuesday night said: “We continue to honour and abide by the said terms and call upon the protesting employees to avoid any disruption of services. AISATS is a people oriented company and our employees have always been our focus area.”

“However, further demands of revision in salaries are unwarranted and thus we request employees to resume their duties to avoid inconveniencing passengers at the airport,” it added.

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