Air India’s technical staff faces salary crisis; Modi govt wants to close down the company, say employees

AIESL employees, in a joint letter, have urged the Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri to regularise their salary

Air India (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Air India (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
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NH Political Bureau

As the Modi government sped up the process for the sale of national carrier Air India and decided to sell the remaining shareholding of Airport Authority of India (AAI) in key airports including Delhi and Mumbai, it has come to the fore that the technical staff of the public sector company is facing a serious salary crisis.

Employees – working with the Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), a subsidiary company of the Air India Limited, responsible for providing technical support and ground staff to the national carrier – told National Herald that they have not received salary for February till Monday (March 15).

The aggrieved employees, after waiting for 15 days, have shot off a letter to the Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri, demanding salary for the last month. They have also urged the minister to regularise their salary.

Air India’s technical staff faces salary crisis; Modi govt wants to close down the company, say employees
Air India’s technical staff faces salary crisis; Modi govt wants to close down the company, say employees

Alleging stepmotherly treatment by the government, an association of technical staff, All India Service Engineers’ Association (AISEA), said while salary for the month of February has already been paid to the employees of the Air India, the technical staff is facing delay every month.

Seeking an appointment with the Union Minister, employees have also demanded appointment of a full time CEO of the company also. It is important to mention here that the subsidiary company of the Air India Limited, does not have a full-time executive head.

An employee of the company who did not wish to be named said that the salary of the technical staff was deducted already during the lockdown. “Now, this delay is only adding to our woes,” he said. The employee alleged that the real intention behind such delay is that the government wants to close down the company.

“(There’s) No future plan for the survival of the AIESL due to which many staff are demoralized and even asking the management to clear their long pending dues and offer golden handshake to employees after which the ministry will be free to close to AIESL,” reads a paragraph of the letter sent by the employees to Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

“We have yet to receive a 25 % pay cut, implemented unilaterally. Some employees in fact have retired or passed away,” it added.

Formed on March 11, 2004 by the then UPA government, the AIESL, provides base Maintenance facilities at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Nagpur Airports.

As per the website of the AIESL, the company also has specialised overhaul shops and is equipped with the necessary hangars, workshops, storage rooms and office buildings, in accordance with national and international regulations and requirements.

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