Air India staff go on sudden strike, at least 12 flights delayed at Mumbai

The employees have been demanding the reinstatement of a recently-terminated employee.

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The ground staff of Air India — hired on contract — suddenly went on a strike on Diwali night at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. They sought the reinstatement of a colleague who was fired recently. It is reported that the employees were apparently demanding a Diwali bonus too.

The situation led to several flights being delayed and a need to call staff from their homes to help restore order.

According to a spokesperson, these employees of Air India Air Transport Services (AIATSL) had gone off duty leading to disruption in work. However, efforts were being made to set things right and reduce delays. Permanent staff had to be called in to help normalise the situation.

It is learnt that almost 10 domestic flights and three international flights were delayed by at least two hours.

AIATSL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, supplies ground-handling services to Air India across airports in India. Its 5,000 strong workforce includes many hired on contract basis, who handle work, such as loading and unloading of bags and cargo, checking-in passengers, tidying aircraft, and so on. They also perform similar work for foreign airlines on a contract basis.

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