New Delhi: Aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) of Air India have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Civil Aviation Ministry to revisit the “discriminatory” pay cut revision.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, two associations of engineers, the All India Aircraft Engineers Association and the Air India Aircraft Engineers Association, said, “Kindly direct the Ministry of Civil Aviation to revisit the discriminatory pay cut revision taken to mitigate the impact of the pandemic ensuring compassion and equality of treatment remain the most important ingredient.
“It is quite disheartening that when the entire world has taken you as an unprecedented example in good governance, ethical and logical thinking and compassion for the whole world, our own Air India management defied it by misinforming the Civil Aviation Minister and his secretariat to arrive at unethical and discriminatory pay cut being recommended for us which has minimal effect for them but has spelt disaster on us.”
The associations pointed out, “The patronising attitude of the higher management towards virtually redundant executives (re-employed post-retirement) continued on the matter of pay cut too.”
While an aircraft engineer earns less, his salary has been cut by Rs 20,000, while a retired executive whose emoluments are Rs 1.8 lakh per month, his salary has been cut by only Rs 18,000, they pointed out.
The engineers have given examples of what they feel is “the ingenuity of higher officials to ensure negligible impact on their gross emoluments while imparting a blow to licenced categories of employees”.
The salary of a deputy chief aircraft engineer has been cut by Rs 50,000-70,000 and that of a senior aircraft engineer by Rs 40,000, while that of a director personnel and director finance is cut by only Rs 20,000 and that of a regional director by only Rs 17,000.
“The CEO of Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL), with parochial mindset and favouritism at his core, has been irrational in those matters to ensure contract employments for his accomplices. Rampant violations of practices leading to drainage of revenue are yet to be questioned and curbed,” the engineers alleged.
They pointed out that the 40 per cent pay cut has pushed them to subsistence with an overload of EMIs, school fees and bills.
Protesting the pay cuts, the engineers’ associations told the PM: “A pseudo plan has been hatched by the callous top management resulting in a discriminatory and disproportionate massive pay cut exclusively for us in contrast to a miniscule cut for the higher officials.”
They added that these allowances have been specifically targeted by the management to adversely hurt a particular section of employees, namely AMEs.
The engineers added that contrary to belief, the amount of mandatory maintenance work on the aircraft remained undiminished during the pandemic, irrespective or aircraft utilization, and rather got increased due to the requirement of periodic storage examination and preservation in “flight ready” condition.
“We are forced to withdraw money from our provident fund for our survival as our existing financial commitments towards basic needs have not even reduced slightly,” they added.
“It is tragic that engineers in the middle of their career with all the liabilities pending towards family and wards are forced to withdraw money from their provident funds to meet daily needs while the retired executives having already secured their future are enjoying the freebies despite dismal performance in service,” the associations said.
The engineers said that if the pay cut is inevitable, then it should be applied equally and ethically to all sections of employees.