More than 10 Million Workers Strike in India

More than 10 million government workers in India participated in a national strike Wednesday, disrupting airports, trains and banks.

International and domestic flights were disrupted across India on Wednesday as thousands of airport employees went on strike to protest plans to privatize airports, officials said.

The airport in Calcutta, the largest city in eastern India, was the hardest hit, with at least 80 flights delayed for a day or longer, said V. K. Monga, the airport’s director.

The New Delhi and Mumbai airports, which are the country’s two busiest and serve most international flights, were barely affected by the strike because they are privately run.

Nevertheless, there were fears that tens of thousands of passengers would be stranded or severely delayed after nearly 15,000 workers — baggage handlers, cleaners and ground staff — at 127 government-run airports walked off their jobs early Wednesday morning.

The 12-hour strike was expected to end Wednesday evening, said M. K. Ghoshal, general secretary of the Airport Authority Employees Union.

Ghoshal said the strike was meant to pressure the government to scrap plans to replace nearly 15,000 employees with private contract workers.

“We have submitted petitions to the government, but there has been no response to our concerns,” said Amitava Nundy, a communist party lawmaker who sides with the union.

India’s airline industry has grown dramatically in recent years as rising incomes and loosened regulations put air travel within reach of millions of new customers.

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