Employees of Air India’s technical arm AIESL mull nationwide strike, legal action after fresh salary cut
The 20 per cent cut in gross salary announced by the management of Air India Engineering Services Limited comes on the heels of a 25-30 per cent salary cut in March this year
Amid deepening financial woes and anxiety, Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL), the technical arm of the national carrier, Air India, announced a 20 per cent cut in gross salary of all employees on Tuesday.
Based on information received from highly placed sources, National Herald had reported on July 8 that the AIESL management was planning a fresh salary cut to deposit employees’ PF from a back date.
Signed by CB Kharkhanis, CEO of AIESL, the letter says, “Commencing salary payable for the month of June 2021, AIESL board has decided to ‘set aside’ total of 20 % of your gross salary to create cash flow for payment of statutory dues”.
Interestingly, the next paragraph in the letter said, “This is not a pay-cut, and the amount set aside would be returned to you as soon as the statutory dues are paid.”
“Why are they announcing the cut then, if the amount has to be returned?” said an employee who was furious after receiving the letter.
“They were alarmed after NH published the story. So they discovered a new terminology. No matter what you call it, ‘cut or setting aside’, it is going to hit us hard,” said the employee, adding that “the previous salary has not been resumed yet”.
Citing loss of income and revenue, the AIESL management had announced a 25-30 percent salary cut in March this year.
“It is going to affect lower rung employees badly,” said the employee who served the national carrier for more than 35 years.
Blaming Air India and the government for mismanagement, another employee said, “We have been facing step motherly treatment for years. While the salary of the Air India employees has been disbursed in time, a 20 per cent cut has been announced for us. This is illegal as well as against our rights”.
The letter regarding a fresh salary cut sparked anger and criticism among AIESL employees. Union leaders are of the opinion that legal action, which includes lodging of FIR against the CEO CB Kharkhanis and the CFO Kapil Aseri, must be initiated.
“On behalf of all employees, an FIR will be registered in Delhi soon. We have already started consultation in this regard,” said a union leader.
“We will stop working. Plan for a nationwide strike is also on the cards,” added the union leader.
Formed in 2004 with the aim to provide technical assistance to Air India, the AIESL has the biggest aircraft maintenance and repair operation in India.