Chaos marks Biman strike
Strike called off after 7 hoursStaff Correspondent
Operations at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport was disrupted for seven hours on Tuesday due to an indefinite strike enforced by the Biman employees until it was called off on an government assurance to meet
a number of their demands.
The civil aviation and tourism minister, Faruk Khan, at an emergency meeting assured the demonstrating pro-Awami League collective bargaining agent of the national flag carrier to resolve the issues in a board meeting of Biman later on the day.
‘We have agreed to accept some of their demands and the rest will be placed at the board meeting today,’ Faruk Khan told reporters after the meeting with the CBA also attended by LGRD state minister Jahangir Kabir Nanak.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines acting managing director Mosaddeque Ahmed in a written statement also assured the CBA that cases filed against Biman Sramik League president Moshiqur Rahman would be withdrawn.
‘We have withdrawn the indefinite strike on assurance received from the government that our demands would be met with immediate effect,’ Moshiqur told New Age.
The Biman Sramik League called the strike to press a 7-point set of demands including withdrawal of cases against Moshiqur Rahman, full implementation of the airline’s organogram, and increasing facilities of its workers.
Regular operations at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport were disrupted for 7am to 1:30pm, when hundreds of passengers got stuck inside the terminal.
CBA activists locked the entrance to the Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh headquarters at 7am and staged demonstrations in front of the office. The ground crews also joined in the strike halting the ground operations at the airport.
Passengers of the 16 incoming flights and 20 departure flights scheduled between 7am and 1:30pm got stuck inside the terminal as the incoming passengers could not collect their luggage and no flight departed the airport, said CAAB officials.
At around 12:30pm, a section of angry passengers in the arrival lounge locked in a heated debate with the security personnel.
At one point, some passengers broke a computer monitor and an advertisement board. They also vandalised the luggage counter and damaged the conveyor belt.
‘There were some unpleasant incidents in the arrival lounge but later we brought the situation under control,’ senior assistant superintendent of Airport Armed Police Battalion ABM Atiqur Rahman told New Age.
Regular operations of the airport resumed at 2pm.
A group of CBA activists under the leadership of Moshiqur Rahman has for long been waging a movement in demand for a hike in allowances and facilities of the Biman employees.
Their demands include adjustment of personal pay, increasing the meal allowance to Tk 150, provide uniforms, providing full medical allowance, and making the jobs of those employees permanent who have served for more than five years.
Earlier, on Monday morning, the Biman Sramik League besieged the head office of the airline, Balaka Bhaban, at Motijheel in the city to press for their demands.
They also confined Mosaddeque Ahmed to his office for 12 hours on Sunday in protest against an alleged ‘conspiracy’ against Moshiqur.
Earlier on April 2012 the Biman employees went on strike with in a demand of restructuring the national flag carrier’s board of directors.
The airline incurred a loss of Tk 10 billion in financial year 2011-12, which was at Tk 1.9 billion in 2010-11 and at Tk 410 million in 2009-10.
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