Salary Cut, Sick Leave, Poor Conduct: Led by Irate Cabin Crew, ‘Silent’ Stir’s Slow Strike at IndiGo

IndiGo faced it’s one of its worst On-Time Performance (OTP) on Saturday as there is discontentment brewing among the employees over lesser wages and other hardships.

The Twitter timeline of the airline company was swamped with complaints from passengers across the country because several crewmembers were unavailable leading to delay in take-offs.

To add to the problem, a delay in a flight led to the entire network running behind the schedule. The airline blamed the situation on factors which are uncontrollable, however, it didn’t give details about those factors.

Meanwhile, it was not long before the passengers realised that the issue is with the non-availability of cabin crew. Hundreds of passengers got inconvenienced, facing disruption in their travel plans and one late flight made the next one further delayed, leading to chaos and confusion at the airports.

On July 2, around 55 percent of IndiGo flights were late and on July 3, around 30 percent of the airline’s flights were delayed. A flight is considered to be delayed if it is departing beyond 15 minutes of its departure time.

The delay was reported as a significant number of cabin crew members went for an Air India recruitment drive, according to sources.

As a result, IndiGo, which operates around 1,600 flights a day, faced one of its worst on-time performance on the weekend.

The sudden non-availability of crew members clearly showed that there is huge discontentment regarding the current pay and allowance which is not compensating for the tiredness and long working hours that they have to endure, especially when the travel has started to cross pre-Covid level in domestic market.

According to industry experts, the present case of mass sick leave is a form of silent protest by cabin crew.

This isn’t the first time that the airline has witnessed this situation in the recent times. In April, some members of the pilot community had protested against the delay in the restoration of their pre-Covid salaries.

The airline had even initiated disciplinary action against some pilots who were planning to organise a strike on the issue.

This comes even after the airline announced an eight percent hike in salaries of pilots from April 1. However, the pilots reasoned that they would still have to face a 20 percent cut.

There is an urgency among employees to seek better remuneration after two years of covid-induced weak economy and rising inflation, believe experts.

This was the reason behind a large number of cabin crew staff going on mass sick leave on Saturday as they wanted to attend a recruitment drive by Air India.

“It is not just Air India, other airlines are also as attractive and as several airlines have resumed hiring this year, employees have also become proactive and are keeping an eye out for opportunities with better pay and more allowances” a person aware of the developments said.

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