NEW DELHI: Country’s premier aircraft maintenance, repair & overhaul company, Air India Engineering Services Ltd, will soon be on the block for disinvestment. On the line will also be the fate of about 1,100 aircraft technicians, whose career, post the disinvestment process, will be in an uncharted territory.
ET Infra spoke to several aircraft technicians working in AIESL on ‘fixed-term employment’ who highlighted that the existing service conditions under which they work, leave them vulnerable once the MRO company is privatised.
Since 2017, AIESL has been hiring aircraft technicians on ‘fixed-term employment or FTE’ which is contractual in nature for a duration of five years. Technicians highlight that the existing service conditions at AIESL are exploitative in nature and they are not being provided the rights which are due to them under the Industrial Employment rules framed by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
AIESL’s Chief Human Resource Officer Nitin Asthana in a reply to ET Infra’s query stated that technicians who are on ‘fixed-term employment’ are being paid the remuneration as per rules and regulations stipulated in the terms and conditions mutually agreed by the individual concerned and the company.
All the statutory benefits are being paid to these Fixed-Term Employees as applicable to them under concerned laws,” he said. Queries sent to the office of Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal, remained unanswered till the filing of the story.
Sharad Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer of AIESL in an interview to CNBC-TV18 in March stated that given the infrastructure, assets and engineering talent the company has across the country, it is a ‘goldmine’ for potential buyers. Average revenue of the company in the last three years was more than Rs. 1,500 crores, he stated.
“After AIESL is privatised, there is likely to be a probation period of one year for all employees wherein the new buyer would not undertake any changes in employment conditions and manpower which has been the norm with other PSU disinvestment. We want the norms related to FTE implemented before the disinvestment so that our interests are secured,” said one of the technicians. “Post one year of takeover, the new owner will act as per market conditions,” he added.
Agarwal stated to CNBC-TV18, that the company’s biggest assets are its engineers and technicians and they will remain in the company and have ‘better times’. However, about 1,100 technicians at AIESL are on tenterhooks as they remain unsure of their fate once the privatisation process is completed.