Garuda Pilots End Strike Early

The Garuda pilots’ strike over difference in pay between foreign and domestic pilots ended early on Thursday, causing few delays or cancellations.  The workers ended the strike after meetings with management and government officials and, much like the Freeport strike earlier this month, the Garuda workers’ strike ended with the promise of more negotiations, but not a specific deal.

From The Jakarta Globe:

Hundreds of Garuda Indonesia pilots cut short their planned 24-hour strike on Thursday after a minister stepped in and got both sides to agree to return to the negotiating table.   “On behalf of APG, at 12:58 p.m., I declare to all members that the flight strike is over,” said Stephanus Geraldus, chairman of the striking Garuda Pilots Union (APG), which represents two-thirds of the airlines’ 897 pilots.

The strike, which started at midnight on Wednesday, was called off following a meeting between the union, Garuda management and State Enterprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.  Mustafa, who arrived at the airport for a surprise inspection, said the disputing parties had agreed that the strike should stop. “We all should be glad that the strike is over,” Mustafa said, without providing further details.

Garuda’s president director, Emirsyah Satar, said they had agreed that the issues in contention would be further discussed.  “We will meet again during Ramadan to discuss the issues along with the minister and, hopefully, we will settle everything before Idul Fitri,” he said.

Stephanus said later that the strike had been halted at the behest of Mustafa.  “I don’t think the agreement to end this would have happened had the minister not come,” he said. The pilots had been so angry with Garuda’s management, he added, that they had been reluctant to meet with them.

While AFP reported accusations by the union of intimidation and strike-breaking tactics by management:

Senior union official Jose Rizal earlier told AFP the company’s strike-breaking tactics included picking pilots up from their homes and forcing them onto planes.  Union members responded to the “intimidation” by broadening the strike, which began at midnight Wednesday, from outbound Jakarta flights to all domestic and international routes across the archipelago.

“We decided for a full (nationwide) strike today at around 5:00 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) when we found out three of our pilots had been intimidated and forced to fly by the management,” Rizal said. This could risk the safety of the flights as we’re not trained for that kind of situation.”



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