Engineers, pilots, journalists — job losses have spared none & no one knows if worst is over

Representational image of shops shut during the Covid-19 lockdown in Varanasi | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

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New Delhi: Job losses and pay cuts have become a recurring theme in the Covid-19 pandemic — a crisis the economic impact of which is expected to be much worse than the fallout of the global financial crisis of 2008.

To curb the spread of the pandemic, the Narendra Modi government announced a nationwide lockdown beginning 25 March. The lockdown, however, lasted longer than anticipated, till the end of May. It has also been reintroduced in many districts by various state administrations, further impacting economic activity.

The crisis came as a double whammy for 24-year-old Sandeep Kumar’s seven-member family. Not only did Sandeep, an aeronautical engineer, lose his job with a company offering ground handling services at the Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, his father, an autorickshaw driver, lost his livelihood due to the nationwide lockdown.

This forced the family to open a ration shop in April — it was considered an essential service, and hence, allowed during the lockdown.

“I worked as a load control officer for a company which worked for Air France and KLM. My work was to calculate the weight and centre of gravity for the aircraft, and I was there for two years. But Covid-19 hit flight operations in March. First, I was asked to proceed on leave, and then I lost my job in April,” he said.

Now, after three months without a job, Kumar has finally managed to find another that pays less — customer service associate for a leading e-commerce firm. But this job tests his communication skills, not his engineering skills.

“The aviation industry is badly hit and will take a long time to function normally. So I couldn’t wait for a job in the aviation sector,” he said.

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