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Garuda Pilots' Strike Averted?

Pilot Slow Down Threatened to Start from Late January.

(1/27/2003) The association representing Garuda Indonesia's 639 pilots have issued a deadline for pay increases that, if unmet by the Carrier's senior management, they insist will result in work slow downs and an eventual close down of the airline due to a pilots' strike action.

The President of the Garuda Pilot's Association, Ari Safari, indicated that if current negotiations fail the pilots will introduce a "labor slowdown" from January 26 until February 01, that will result in flight schedule delays of at least one hour. Following that, the pilots threaten to intensify their action between February 02-09, increasing delays to 5 hours; to be followed by a complete work stoppage starting from February 10.

The pilots are reportedly demanding First Officer's monthly salaries be increased from their current average Rp. 6.4 million (approximately US$ 720) to Rp. 20.37 million (approximately US$ 2,315) and Captain's pay packets from their current Rp. 12.2 million (approximately US$ 1,387) to Rp. 47.88 million (approximately, US$ 5,440).

Accordingly to Safari, the proposed industrial action by Garuda's pilots has already received the endorsement of the International Federation of Airline Pilots, who have reportedly barred Garuda from hiring any new pilots during the course of the industrial action.

Meanwhile, Garuda's top management are calling the pilots' demands unrealistic, citing the poor financial performance of the Indonesian flag carrier. While agreeing that the pilots need and deserve higher salary benefits, the airline say they are only able to increase pilots' pay by 40% and not the 200-300% curently being demanded by the pilots' union.

Late Breaking Developments

On Saturday, January 25th, just a day before the threatened industrial action was to commence the pilots agreed to delay any action pending mediated talks with the Airline's management scheduled for Tuesday, January 28. Indonesia's Minister of Manpower, Jacob Nuwa Wea, will act as a mediator at the talks.

The decision to forestall the industrial action by the pilots came after Garuda's management refused the pay increase requested by the pilots and promised to maintain schedules even if that required the hiring of foreign contract pilots.