Indonesian Pilots Stage Day-Long Walkout

Posted July 28th, 2011 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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Hundreds of pilots with Indonesia's state-run Garuda Airlines are on a 24-hour strike to protest pay inequality.

The pilots walked off the job early Thursday after negotiations broke down between management and the pilots' union. The union wants its Indonesian-born pilots to receive the same pay as their foreign-born colleagues.

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

Airline officials say flight instructors or pilots in management positions are replacing the striking pilots, and promise their will be no disruptions to flights.

Suryo Bambang Sulisto, the chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, tells VOA he is not worried that the limited labor action will shake investor confidence in Indonesia. But, he says, the business community would like to see any wage increases tied to increased productivity.

The Jakarta Globe newspaper quoted Garuda Airlines management as denying the pilots' claims about a wage disparity, saying local pilots receive pensions and bonuses that foreign pilots do not get.