Air Lanka pilots resume work
[TamilNet, Friday, 19 February 1999, 11:46 GMT]
Air Lanka pilots called off their strike today, allowing Sri Lanka's national carrier which had been grounded since yesterday, to resume flights. The Sri Lankan pilots, who went on strike over a pay dispute, claim Air Lanka pays foreign pilots three times as much as what the airline pays them.
Air Lanka is currently managed by the Emirates, which bought forty percent of the national carrier's shares in April last year.
Sri Lankan pilots who went on strike say that the foreign pilots working for Air Lanka have been given a salary raise without their knowledge while they are still negotiating a package deal with the Emirates management concerning flying hours, a salary revision and incentives.
The local pilots are paid 2500 USD per month while the foreign pilots who fly Air Lanka planes now draw 7000 USD under the salary scheme revised for them by the Emirates management.
Earlier the foreign pilots were drawing 4000-5000 USD per month. Nine flights were grounded due to the strike last evening.
Local pilots who fly Air Lanka jets say that the Emirates management is trying to recruit more foreign pilots whereas the policy should be aimed at filling all the ranks eventually with qualified Sri Lankan pilots.
They say that the foreign pilots were originally hired until such time the country could train adequate pilots to fly the Air Lanka fleet.