A Sudden Maintenance Workers’ Strike "Isolates" Algeria By Air

date 2017/05/16 views 448 comments 0

icon-writer By: Said Batoul/ English Version: Med.B

Maintenance workers at Air Algerie Company launched, against all expectations, an open strike on Tuesday morning causing the disruption of all domestic and external flights at the level of Algiers International Airport, amid a state of utter exasperation among passengers who expressed their displeasure at the decision to stop work abruptly, without any prior notice and without any respect or consideration for passengers.

The strike action was however suspended in the afternoon after arduous negotiations with the Company’s senior management.

The Algiers International Airport hall witnessed an extraordinary movement of people on Tuesday because of the sudden strike by Algerian air maintenance unit workers, which led to the cancellation of all international flights bound to various capitals of the world, as well as domestic flights that were all canceled as well, while hundreds of passengers were stranded for several hours at the airport hoping flights to resume but to no avail.

 *Dismayed women and children literally scattered on the floor

Women and children, young men and elderly people queued in front of the Air Algerie registration desks in order to get tickets and ensure delivery of their luggage  in order to go through to complete the security procedures, which precede boarding the plane  but all of a sudden, the Airport’s announcer said through the loudspeaker that all flights belonging to Air Algerie were scrapped as a result of the maintenance workers' strike.

Families were forced to eat on the floor waiting for the registrations to be opened. A host of elderly passengers were on their way to Saudi Arabia to perform “Umrah” or small pilgrimage. They looked very exhausted because of the long waiting time in the airport lobby, amid a large number of other hapless passengers who could not travel because of the sudden protest movement. 

The clock reached the limits of 11 a.m, a state of congestion prevailed… Disgruntled passengers voiced deep resentment and vividly protested against the workers of the Airline Company due to the huge delay, and demanded the resumption of the flights.

 "We’ve been here since 5 a.m in the morning, our flight was supposed to kick off at around 7:00 a.m, but all things went abruptly topsy-turvy," an angry passenger lamented. 

"We initially thought the flight was delayed as usual and it later became clear that it had to do with an unexpected strike action waged by the Company’s maintenance workers, and this led to the cancellation of all flights”, he further asserted.

 *General anger and chaos

"We didn’t know what the solution was because of the sudden strike movement. The company officials did not come to us to clarify things. They did not tell us when the flights would resume," he added. "All travelers were confused between returning to their homes or waiting at the airport in the absence of the slightest information about the duration of this surprise strike."

We approached one of the staff of the Air Algerie Company to inquire about the duration of this protest movement. He replied that he had no information on this matter, considering that negotiations were still ongoing between the union’s representatives  and the relevant officials. 

At around midday, the Company finally opened the desk of registrations for the first flight to Madrid airport, which flabbergasted the passengers on why this flight was released without exception, despite the presence of dozens of canceled flights that preceded this trip.

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