Thu, 22 May 2003

Garuda technicians to go on strike

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

PT Garuda Aircraft Technicians Association (ITPU) threatened on Wednesday that 600 technicians from the association would hold a three-day strike, starting next Tuesday, in protest at a PT Garuda management decision to transfer them to a new private company.

Should their strike materialize, Garuda flights could be much affected because the 600 technicians are based at 25 airports across the country and at five other airports overseas.

ITPU chairman Yan Endrayana said that they had planned the strike because Garuda management would transfer them to PT Garuda Maintenance Facility Aero Asia (GMFAA).

"We shall begin the strike at midnight on May 27 and end it at midnight on May 29," he said.

He said that ITPU had also informed the ministers of Transportation and Communications, People's Welfare, Manpower and Transmigration and the state minister of State-owned Enterprises about their strike plan.

According to ITPU, PT Garuda management's decision to transfer them was illegal because PT Garuda Employee Association (Sekarga) had not been involved in the decision, as stipulated in the work agreement.

He said the strike would also be supported by Garuda pilots from the Garuda Pilot Association (APG) and Cabin Crew Association (IKAGI).

According to Yan, Garuda would have to pay GMFAA Rp 15.7 billion per month if it transferred the employees to the company.

Garuda is currently operating 51 airplanes of various types to serve 185 flights every day, at a monthly total maintenance cost of US$1,840,060.

Garuda spokesman Pujobroto said the transfer of the employees was made possible by Law No.13/2003 on Manpower, which allows the practice of outsourcing.

He said it did not plan to lay off any of its employees and that they would not receive less pay.

The decision had been discussed with the employee association, he said.

The spin-off program of PT GMFAA, which is part of the company's reorganization, was in accordance with the masterplan of state enterprises 2002-2006, Pujobroto said. With the spin-off program, Garuda would concentrate on its core business of airlines, while PT GMFAA would concentrate on maintenance, repairs and overhauls.