AEI Annual Congress Report
October 19, 2020
Meeting participants from Portugal to Australia, from New Zealand to Norway, and many points in between.
Last week AEI held its 48th Annual Congress virtually utilizing the Teams Application due to the realities of the Covid-19 virus that has swept the world. At first there
was a plan to have the executive board gather in person and have the delegates from our affiliate unions join an on-line meeting; however, as the date got near and the virus started its fall surge, travel restrictions were raised, and that plan had to be abandoned in favour of an all virtual meeting. The Congress was well coordinated and attended, even with the participants being in various time zones around the globe.
During the meetings we had reports from delegate organizations informing us of the situation in their areas. The Covid-19 virus has re-shaped the reality of the aviation industry to a state that would be unrecognizable from just earlier this year. Please take a moment to view the AEI website and the full update which is now available.
I believe that Robert Alway, AEI Secretary General, captured it perfectly in his report:
As if that wasn’t enough some employers just can’t help reverting to the “good old days” of threats and bullying. As if the virus itself was not enough, many engineers are being threatened with job cuts or closure if they do not agree to reduced terms and conditions under the guise of an airline or MRO claiming its necessary to survive the virus. Interestingly most of these employers are not offering or proposing temporary cuts to survive the virus but permanent cuts. This raises serious doubts as to the real need or motive behind these moves. The situation is difficult, but the solution requires the cooperation and support of all involved to get through this. It is not the time for old fashioned industrial relations. The virus is nobody’s fault and therefore no group of employees should be asked to do more than is really necessary to get through this period. The goal has to be to come out the other side ready to get the business back to normal ops. It is at times like this we need innovative leaders who can gain the full support of their staff in order to overcome the challenge.
For AEI and its affiliates, now is the time like never before to interact and communicate your issues, your experiences. We may be able to offer help and advice but more importantly, we can inform others. It is the sharing of experiences that could be the vital link in helping your fellow engineer, friend and colleague somewhere else in the world make their problem seem a little smaller, a little easier to solve.
And that is my main message to this congress in the current difficult circumstances. Please remember, this is an international crisis, not a national one. We are all together in one boat with one common goal. The survival of our industry. Keep communicating and share your experiences, it will help, and somebody out there will be every appreciative.
I hope we are able to get back to normal as quickly as possible and hold a physical congress where we can all meet up again.
The far-reaching relationships that we have built with other aircraft maintenance technician and engineer unions via our affiliation with the AEI benefits all of us. Please visit our website at www.airengineers.org to learn more.
AEI Secretary Americas