Air India Braces for Disruption as Aircraft Technicians Threaten Strike

Air India Braces for Disruption as Aircraft Technicians Threaten Strike

Air India Braces for Disruption as Aircraft Technicians Threaten Strike

The challenges continue to mount for Air India Ltd., as aircraft technicians at AI Engineering Services Ltd. are gearing up for a strike later this month, adding to the airline’s recent troubles following pilots’ concerns about workload and compensation.

According to a report, technicians at AI Engineering Services Ltd., a state-run maintenance, repair, and overhaul firm, formerly a part of Air India, are set to strike on April 23. The All India Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Union conveyed in a letter dated April 8 to the CEO citing various issues impacting their “well-being” and “professional growth.”

A representative for Air India stated that the situation is under close observation.

 

This unrest within the aviation workforce poses a risk to India’s air travel expansion plans. Pilots and aircraft engineers are pivotal in supporting the nation’s rapid fleet expansion, especially with significant aircraft orders placed by airlines like IndiGo, Air India, and Akasa.

The impending strike adds to the turbulence already experienced in India’s aviation sector. Last week, Vistara, jointly owned by Tata Group and Singapore Airlines Ltd., faced hundreds of flight cancellations due to pilots calling in sick en masse, citing fatigue and pay cuts. The airline had to reduce its daily flights to prevent further disruptions.

AI Engineering Services Ltd., with Air India as its primary client, is witnessing dissatisfaction among its workforce due to various reasons outlined in the letter. Technicians express frustration over the lack of career progression opportunities, as promotions have been stalled for seven years. The management’s pledge to revise the pay structure for technicians with a minimum tenure of two years has not been fulfilled. Additionally, contractual employees, forming 75% of the workforce, feel discriminated against, facing longer notice periods and fewer benefits compared to permanent staff.

A representative from AI Engineering mentioned that discussions with the union have commenced to address the grievances. While salaries for all staff except technicians have been revised, pending court proceedings delay the revision for technicians’ pay. The company aims to address this issue post-withdrawal of the court case, which advocates for equal pay between contractual and permanent employees.

Meanwhile, Air India pilots echo concerns similar to Vistara’s staff, highlighting systemic issues of being underpaid and overworked across Tata’s aviation portfolio.

In light of the potential disruption from the impending strike, aircraft technicians urge management to swiftly resolve issues to maintain operational continuity.

The looming strike poses significant challenges for Air India, underscoring the urgent need for effective resolution strategies to address workforce grievances and ensure seamless operations in the midst of mounting industry pressures.

As the aviation industry grapples with ongoing challenges, the situation underscores the critical need for proactive measures to address the concerns of the workforce and safeguard the operational stability of airlines like Air India.

Efforts to resolve the underlying issues plaguing AI Engineering Services Ltd. are crucial not only for the well-being and job satisfaction of its employees but also for maintaining the integrity and reliability of the airline’s maintenance operations. Failure to address these concerns in a timely and effective manner could have far-reaching implications, including disruptions to flight schedules, damage to the airline’s reputation, and financial losses.

Moreover, the broader issue of employee dissatisfaction and unrest within the aviation sector raises questions about the industry’s long-term sustainability and the ability of airlines to attract and retain talent in an increasingly competitive environment. Addressing these concerns requires a collaborative approach involving management, labor unions, and regulatory authorities to foster a conducive work environment that prioritizes employee welfare and professional growth.

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