The Garuda Pilots Association (APG) has announced that it will go ahead with plans to strike on Thursday after negotiations collapsed between workers and the company earlier this week.
The issue driving the dispute is the differences in the way the company handles domestic and foreign pilots. These include pay differences between domestic and foreign pilots and which pilots the company will be hiring as it goes forward with plans to nearly double the size of the fleet and hire 500 new pilots. According to the APG, foreign pilots earn $7,200 a month, plus housing, Indonesian pilots earn $5,000. According to Tempo, other airlines, such as Air Asia, pay equal wages to foreign and domestic pilots.
Quotes from government official have been ostensibly neutral, but not necessarily encouraging for the striking workers. The Transportation Minstry said it would not interfere because it is an industrial issue, but suggested the pilots not strike, while the Minister of State Enterprises suggested Garuda should temporarily hire Merpati pilots to replace the striking pilots.
The strike is supported by other unions representing workers at Garuda, Garuda Employees’ Union (Sekarga) and the Garuda Indonesia Cabin Crew Association (IAKGI).
Finally, some articles have questioned how many of the pilots will go off the job, such as the Jakarta Globe article, which suggested only pilots in Jakarta would walk off the job, and the Jakarta Post article quotes someone from a group of workers opposed to striking, called Pilots Concerned with Garuda. As always, its a bit difficult to see through the posturing on both sides of the negotiations, but we will see what happens when Thursday comes.