Joining pilots in their fight against discriminatory pay cuts, Air India (AI) aircraft maintenance engineers (AME) on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to urge the aviation ministry to revisit the salary issue.
The letter, written by the Joint Forum Of Air India, suggested ways for the airlines to cut costs by replacing the re-hired retired employees (who are paid high salaries), with freshers. This the letter claimed, would help AI save around ₹30 crore-₹40 crore.
Another suggestion was to ask all Indian registered airlines to repair 25% of their aircraft with Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), which according to the AMEs, would create additional revenue upward of ₹800 crore for the company.
Requesting Modi to revoke their salary cuts, the letter read, “This is the right opportunity to take corrective actions, including an overhaul of the top management, to eradicate the miss-management and previous wrong policy decisions.”
The Air India spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, a serving senior Air India pilot wrote an open letter to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, highlighting the fact that many AI pilots got infected with the virus while operating flights under the government’s Vande Bharat Mission. It pointed out that many pilots had unknowingly spread the infection to their family members, in some cases resulting in loss of life.
“It is an undeniable fact that the nation is going through great economic hardship and everybody must shoulder the responsibility and pain. A massive fiscal deficit is evident, tangible, and can be resolved with prudent fiscal measures and collective decision making,” the letter read. “I believe that all my colleagues understand this fact very clearly. However, the developments in the last few days following the aftermath of (unilaterally imposed) massive, disproportionate, and retrospective pay cuts, and other policies, give rise to a pertinent set of questions in our minds. Must fellow citizens sacrificing so much for the nation be reduced to mere faceless figures and numbers in a profit and loss account or a balance sheet?” it added.
Air India has around 600 engineers and 1800 pilots. An airline official said, “It is evident that the flying crew, as well as the engineers, need to be given justice by reducing the percentage of salary cuts.”