New Delhi: "We are doing social service!" The SpiceJet management reportedly went looking for pilots of Jet Airways who have been struggling without salaries in the ailing company. In the course of the interviews, SpiceJet interviewers allegedly told Jet Airways pilots that the latter were “beggars who could not be choosers”. 

When SpiceJet went shopping on April 24, knowing full well the job seekers were left with a very limited option for negotiation, its executive vice president captain SPS Suri allegedly misbehaved with the Jet staff, who said that the incident was not only 'humiliating but compromising for their dignity'. 

What transpired in the hiring drive?

A pilot of Jet Airways, who was not paid for months and attended the 'recruitment drive' after he was left without a job, said that the behaviour meted out to them was shabby. Captain Suri was allegedly being brazen from the very beginning. He further alleged that Suri said: "We are doing a charity by hiring you". 

In fact, Suri allegedly made resigning a precondition before he took the interviews. Those who attended the recruitment drive also alleged that Suri was dismissive and disrespectful towards the first officers. When some expressed displeasure at the way the drive was being conducted, Suri allegedly said, "beggars can't be choosers".

Also read: Why today's Jet Airways is a reflection of SpiceJet of yesterday

Jet Airways employees body protests

National Aviators’ Guild (NAG), the airline’s pilots union, released a statement to express their 'disappointment and shock'. The release says, "...we are deeply disappointed & shocked at the treatment meted out to our pilots who interacted with the top management of SpiceJet recently. If true, we strongly condemn such unprofessional behaviour, as it was humiliating and deeply disturbing for our colleagues. They are already in a very compromised and fragile state". 

Jet-SpiceJet link

After the grounding of Jet Airways, other airlines like SpiceJet and IndiGo got newer routes as the vacant slots were allotted to them for the next three months. This is being done to minimise passenger inconvenience. In such circumstances, SpiceJet is hiring employees from the grounded airline.

Also read: Jet Airways set to lose prime flight slots 

Over 1,300 pilots were on the street after Jet Airways announced halting of operations on April 17, endangering the jobs of thousands of employees including pilots. 

Last week, ET Now quoted SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh saying the airline had absorbed over 500 employees, including 100 pilots of Jet Airways. He further said that the airlines was opened to inducting more as it was planning to add more aircrafts and routes in the future. But now with all these allegations coming up, the intent of the hiring process itself came under criticism. 

SpiceJet says, no way

However, SpiceJet has rubbished all these allegations. In a statement, the airline said, "These are completely false, distorted, concocted and baseless allegations. Nothing can be farther from (the) truth than to say that Capt. SPS Suri used words like "charity" and "beggar"." In fact, the airline has called it "baseless imputations and/ or communications from unwarranted and unreliable sources". But the airline acknowledged, "SpiceJet is offering jobs to people and has every right to recruit them as per existing terms and conditions."

SpiceJet itself came to a halt just like Jet Airways amid the peak winter season of 2014. It left the employees high and dry, with the Indian aviation business wondering if another Kingfisher was in the making. From there, Ajay Singh helped the airline rise like a phoenix to where it is today. It, therefore, is expected to understand the sensitivity of the situation of Jet Airways employees.