Explanation: after cabin crew, technicians stay away from work – why are IndiGo employees protesting?

Over the past 10 days, India’s largest airline IndiGo has experienced two periods of disruption caused by groups of its employees report sick at work. Earlier this month cabin crew went on furlough en masse and last week a group of aircraft technicians called in sick.

Of course, they can’t all get sick at the same time. What is happening?

A significant number of cabin crew members went on furlough on July 2 as rival airlines including Air India, AirAsia India, AkasaAir and Jet Airways conduct recruitment drives. Aircraft maintenance engineers have called in sick to protest the salaries paid to them by IndiGo.

What was the impact of these staff members going on leave?

When cabin crew members went on leave, it caused more than half of IndiGo’s flights to be delayed. The airline’s punctuality has since improved. Company executives said technicians called in sick had no impact.

How did IndiGo respond to this action by cabin crew and technicians?

Although IndiGo has made no official comment on either development, just days after the mass departure of cabin crew, IndiGo reinstated salaries for pilots and cabin crew by 8% . The airline had cut wages by around 28% during the Covid19 pandemic, and this was the second partial rollback – the first also being 8%. The company also required that its crew members reporting sick must visit their respective bases for verification.

Is this kind of action that obviously bothers passengers allowed?

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) had requested a report from the airline following the significant delays that were caused after the furloughing of cabin crew members. In its response to the regulator, the airline said it was a one-time incident, although the regulator ordered it to compensate passengers who suffered from the delays in accordance with applicable regulations.

Maria D. Ervin