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Strike Looming for Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesian Pilots Threaten to Strike on July 28 if Pay Parity Demand Remains Unfulfilled.

(7/22/2011) The Pilots Association for Garuda Indonesia (APG), representing 80% of the Indonesian Cockpit crew of the national air carrier, has announced its intention to go on strike commencing Thursday, July 28, 2011.

Quoted in The Jakarta Post, Jeffrey Ticoalu, representing the APG, said 

“We are announcing today that we will go on a strike on July 28, starting from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.”

The pilots are at an apparent impasse with their employers in their demand for pay parity with foreign pilots working on contract with the Indonesian airline. As reported by balidiscovery.com [Garuda Pilots Threaten Strike Action] the airline’s national pilots are claiming that foreign contract pilots are being paid at rates twice those given to them for doing the same work.

The airline’s payroll has 897 permanent pilots and 43 contract pilots of which 34 are foreigners.

In its defense, Garuda says it is compelled to hire foreign pilots due to the inability of Indonesian flight schools to graduate a sufficient number of qualified cockpit crew.

While the airline is prepared to continue a dialogue with the APG, senior management say it is difficult to grant the pay increase demanded by their Indonesian pilots, characterizing the APG demand as unfair.

Quoted in Bisnis.com, the financial director of Garuda Indonesia, Elisa Lumbantoruan, has countered the pilots demands and revealed the gap in understanding existing between the viewpoint of the carrier and its pilots by saying: “If the pilots really want the same wages as foreign pilots, why not? So let's change them from fixed permanent employees to contract employees with one year contracts. Wages can then be paid 12 times a year, not like they are now, 14.5 times a year. No more pensions. No more pre-pension allowance of a payment of 28 times their monthly wage and none of the other benefits paid to fixed employees.”

While the Garuda pilots are entitled to go on strike under the law, they are also required to provide their employer with a 24-hour formal notice of their intent to strike.