Indonesian Pilots Set to Strike Thursday

Posted July 27th, 2011 at 6:10 pm (UTC-5)
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The Indonesian government is bracing for a major strike Thursday by pilots of the national airline protesting pay inequality.

The pilots union for the state-run Garuda Indonesia announced Wednesday that the salary negotiations broke down and that pilots would go on strike at midnight.

Garuda employs close to 900 pilots, 43 of them foreign, and runs flights across Asia and to the Middle East and Europe.

The union says foreign pilots earn up to about $7,200 a month including housing benefits, compared to about $5,000 for an Indonesian pilot.

The Jakarta Globe newspaper quoted Garuda management as denying the disparity and saying that local pilots also receive pensions and bonuses that foreign pilots do not get.

The airline's chief operating officer Ari Sapari said that not many pilots will go on strike and that flights would operate as scheduled. He said flight instructors or senior pilots from management are ready to fly if necessary.

Government officials have called on other airlines to be ready to help to ensure that passengers don't get stranded at airports.