LAHORE - PIA union leaders Friday temporarily suspended their protest against privatisation after the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged there will be no job losses, union leaders said.
Unions had planned to siege the airports throughout Pakistan and ground all flights in protest at government plans to sell a 26 percent stake in PIA and transfer the carrier to private management. Their protests, which closed PIA offices for several hours on three consecutive days this week, reflect fears of redundancies.
The PIA sell off and transfer to private management was announced in a presidential ordinance to meet International Monetary Fund’s conditions.
The Prime Minister, alarmed by the growing protests, met PIA union leaders Thursday night to address their concerns. He assured them there would be no job losses and said he would order new aircraft to restore PIA fleet to its former glory. He also announced a new five-member committee to improve communication between the government and unions and provide a forum for staff proposals. The committee will present its report to the PM after two weeks. They will then review whether to resume their campaign.
“We have postponed our protest by two weeks not ended and will start again if our demands are not accepted” said leaders of JACPIA, Athar Awan, Mehmood Bokhari and Sajid Gujjar.
Peoples Unity of PIA employees, President Sajid Gujajr said, “Since Prime Minister has given surety of job security of airline employees so we canceled our protest on Friday (yesterday)”.
Amir Hashmi of the Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) said “We are following Joint Action Committee (JACPIA) and its decision regarding protest against privatisation”.