A strike by employees of state-owned carrier Indian on Wednesday led to the cancellation of over 40 flights and delayed many more, leaving hundreds stranded in airports across the country, as the government declared the stir illegal and warned of a lock-out.
As 27 employees were suspended, the Chief Labour Commissioner's office, the disputes redressal body for the striking workers, declared the strike as illegal and warned of prosecution if it was not ended immediately.
In a letter to Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) general secretary JK Badola, Chief Labour Commissioner SK Mukhopadhyaya said the employees had struck work "during the pendency of conciliation proceedings".
This had rendered the strike illegal and made the ACEU liable for prosecution under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, he said.
Mukhopadhyaya asked the ACEU to come forward for "meaningful dialogue" at the earliest to resolve the issue of wage revision and other matters.
As hundreds of people were stranded in airports after Indian flights were cancelled or delayed by several hours, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel warned of stern action against the employees if they did not withdraw the strike.
A proposed Rs 267 crore package to clear the arrears of Indian employees "can also be reconsidered" if the stir was not called off, he said.
Indian cancelled over 40 flights at airports in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Kerala, Goa and other cities. Many more flights were delayed by several hours. Indian's services to the Gulf and Southeast Asia were also affected, officials said.