AIESL technicians on strike; Air India ops see minor disruptions

Around 1,700 engineers and technicians of state-owned aircraft maintenance company AI Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) went on strike Tuesday morning leading to minor disruptions in operations of the Tata group-owned airline Air India.

The technicians — who handle jobs such as maintenance works, aircraft refueling, marshalling, etc — have been in negotiations with the AIESL management over the last few months in the presence of a labour commissioner, but on Monday announced they were going on a “tools down agitation” Tuesday onwards.

While an Air India spokesperson said that no flights from Delhi were delayed, an official at the airline said there were minor delays and a few cancellations on account of the technicians’ strike. “The disruptions could be more if this is extended,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

AIESL was a subsidiary of Air India but was not packaged with the airline during its disinvestment. The Centre has plans to separately disinvest AIESL, which has presence in Delhi, Nagpur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram.

In a letter to the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, the group of AIESL aircraft technicians demanded salary revision, implementation of full-time employment rules and inclusion of dearness allowance in their pay.

The technicians had in January called for an agitation after having written to the AIESL management, but postponed it after talks began between them. Another strike call was proposed last month, but was postponed again. As per sources, most of these employees are on a contractual basis and are demanding benefits.

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