Amid a dispute with its employees about salary increments, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) has submitted the names of 60 ground technicians to the Immigration and Nationality Affairs Department, which restricted them from leaving the country.
They had passed the entry exams for carriers based in the Middle East, but were informed by the department that they could not leave the country, for an unspecified time.
Some of the ground technicians were allegedly dragged off planes, while on duty, to prevent them from flying to other countries, technicians told Fortune on condition of anonymity.
Over the past two weeks, most of the technicians in question have agreed to start working for Jordan and Gulf Airlines, sources inside ET claimed.
Only five days before the airline’s planned launch of its “2025 Vision” campaign, in January 2011, a disagreement developed between the management and employees over salary increments.
The issue was first raised a few months ago when cabin crewmembers and ground technicians requested salary increments, following pilots negotiating an increment of up to 180pc. The highest percentage of the increment went to the pilots, while the salaries of ground technicians were raised by 35pc.
The duty time of the cabin crews has increased from 13 hours to 14 hours and their standby time at airports are now six hours, up from four hours before. If a return trip amounts to 14 hours or less, they take the next flight back after flying into a country, without a break. Despite the increased workload, they received a 15pc salary increment.
ET employs 5,555 individuals of whom 1,611 work in marketing and sales and 1,555 in maintenance and engineering while crewmembers in the cabin and cockpit number 667 and 333, respectively.
Employees who claimed to be underpaid and overworked and unsatisfied with the salary increment for being insufficient, are submitting resignation letters, which have been rejected by the airline, sources inside ET, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, told Fortune.