ISLAMABAD - The PIA Board of Directors (BoD) on Monday postponed its important meeting that was to be held to regularise the newly given salary increase to the airlines’ personnel, on the pretext of deteriorated security situation in Karachi.
The next date for the meeting has not been decided as yet. Secretary Defence Lieutenant General (r) Asif Yasin Malik, in his capacity as Chairman PIA BoD, was to chair the meeting that was to be held at the PIA Headquarters in Karachi, according to sources.
Earlier on February 9, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) management had informed its personnel through an internal announcement regarding the much-awaited salaries increase. To be effective from January 1, 2013, the increased salaries are to be released following the PIA BoD approval.
The development implies that the airlines’ staff members including officers as well as employees will have to continue waiting till the BoD meets in order to get entitled to the revived salary packages.
“The Board was scheduled to meet today (Monday) to regularise the salaries increase but some BoD members voiced concerns over security situation in Karachi. They (Board members) decided to postpone the meeting without deciding on any date for the next meeting,” sources told The Nation.
The decision was reportedly taken against the backdrop of ongoing protests from some religious and political parties in Karachi (and elsewhere) against the killings of 84 members of Hazara community in Quetta. The notification regarding the salaries increase would be issued after the BoD approval, officials said.
A PIA spokesman, when approached, confirmed that the meeting was postponed but expressed ignorance regarding the postponement’s cause. “It could be law and order situation but nothing can be said in this regard. It’s up to the Board members to decide where and when to meet,” he said.
Initially, the PIA sources said, it was decided that the meeting would be held at the PIA Headquarters in Islamabad. Later, however, the desired venue was shifted to Karachi.
In the story titled, “PIA BoD to okay salaries increase,” The Nation on February 10, 2013 had reported that the PIA Board would meet on February 18 (yesterday) to approve the salaries increase.
“The salaries increase cannot be notified unless approved by the Board. According to the PIA rules, any policy decision has to be rectified or approved by the BoD,” a senior PIA official commented.
The PIA had made an internal announcement regarding increase of up to 45 per cent in the salaries of PIA employees/officers of different cadres. Last month, the PIA employees and officers’ associations/unions had communicated to the PIA management to take steps for getting their salaries increased or “be ready for consequences.”
Following this development, the Secretary Defence had invited all the PIA unions and CBA’s (Collective Bargaining Agents) to present their Charter of Demands (CoD) for negotiations. The chairman PIA-invited bodies included CBAs for group 1 to 4, Senior Staff Association for officers above group 5, Society of Aircraft Engineers of Pakistan (SAEP), Aircraft Technologists Association of Pakistan (ATAP), Flight Engineers National Association (FENA) and Pakistan Airline Pilots’ Association (PALPA). The ATAP has been given 25 per cent cumulative increase, the ground engineers get 55 per cent, flight engineers 75 per cent and the pilots have been given 16 per cent cumulative increase for a two-year period.As per the agreement reached between the PIA personnel’ bodies, the PIA management and the MoD, the salary packages of PIA officials would be revised after December 31, 2014.
In a joint statement issued on February 10, PALPA, ATAP, FENA and SAEP welcomed the salaries’ increase. “The associations have welcomed the PIA decision that will surely help revive the airline’s performance,” the statement said. However, the statement also looked to issue an implied ‘warning shot’ for the bosses. “The PIA management requested to the government to allow raising salaries of PIA employees as the management wanted to retain its technical and professional workforce because this is the only way to ensure the airline’s progress. Otherwise, many new airlines in the region especially from Middle East are hunting for such workforce, offering huge salaries to aviation people as nothing replaces experience in this high tech aviation industry,” it said.
The recent increase in the employees’ salaries comes after ten years. The salaries of the PIA personnel were last increased in the year 2002 compared to the salaries of the officials working in other departments in the defence sector been increased thrice during this time period.