CHENNAI: A flash strike by staff of ground operations service provider Bhadra delayed several international flights from the city on Friday and Saturday.

The workers, most of them baggage handlers, stopped work all of a sudden on Friday, demanding that company for proper terms and conditions in their employment contracts. This delayed flights by up to an hour and a half, holding up passengers who had flights to and from Frankfurt, Dubai and London.

An official said the workers started the strike around 4pm on Friday.

“Several passengers had a tough time and a few missed flights because connecting flights departed late,” he said. “A skeletal team resumed ground handling work on Saturday afternoon.”

The strike delayed a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt and a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong by 90 minutes each and flights of other airlines delayed by 20 minutes or more.

“We salvaged the situation with help from another ground handling company,” the official said. “We were close to cancelling flights. The captain of one aircraft was on the verge of ditching a flight because of the uncertainty and delay.”

Bhadra’s employees pulled the airport through after rain and floods deluge, with most of them remaining at the terminal to continue work, when employees of Air India and other airlines could not report to work because of the deluge.

Bhadra International president Leslie Missal said, “Our workers went on an illegal strike that temporarily affected operation. However, flights departed on time.”

If flights do not depart on time from Chennai, it will hit schedules in Frankfurt, Singapore, Dubai and London, another airport official said.

“Passengers will miss connecting flights and air crew may miss duty time limits in a delay,” he said.

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Source: TOI-Che