JACPIAE threatens protest against PIA privatisation

Chairman rules out airline’s sell-off

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD - Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees (JACPIAE) will start its protest against proposed privatisation of the airline next week, sources in the national flag carrier said on Wednesday. On the other hand, PIA Chairman Azam Saigol has ruled out the privatisation of the airline.

They said that though no formal meeting has been convened so far in this regard but corner meetings are continued. An office bearer of the PIA employees union seeking anonymity said, “We are waiting for November 02, when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has given protest call against the present government, after that we will start our protests”.

He said that due to the show-cause notices, PIA management had issued to its officials who took part in the last protest, the airline officials are scared. Nobody is daring to speak openly against privatisation but at the time protest momentum will start everybody will take part in it. All unions of PIA employees and officers are on same page apart from pilots association PALPA.

He said PALPA has been divided into two parts on the issue of Privatisation, one part of PALPA is in favor while other is opposing. All other unions like Air League of PIA employees, Peoples Unity of PIA employees, Senior Staff Association (SSA), Society of Aircraft Engineers Pakistan (SEAP), FENA etc were against privatisation and consultation among them is underway on the issue, he said. Sources in the airline said that PIA management has started preparing list of employees and officers for downsizing.

Apart from that, the national flag carrier management is also working on fake degree cases and corruption cases against airline officials. They claimed that PIA will be in a position to show the door to its 4800 officials. Airline management is also thinking on these lines to outsource certain department like Technical Ground Services (TGS), Human Resource (HR), Catering, Passengers Handling Services (PHS), Speedex and PEC department. A unionist, on the condition of not to be named, said that the government has pledged in the past that it would increase the fleet size of the airline and number of planes will touch 70. If it is true then why the government and airline management is in hurry to terminate the services of its officials, he questioned.

Another senior officer said that on one hand airline is preparing lists of the officials and on the other hand it is hiring the services of blue eyed peoples on the exuberant salaries. Interestingly, these new comer officials do not have any knowledge or background of civil aviation, he claimed. When contacted, spokesman for the airline Danyal Gillani said that though airline needs downsizing but management is not working on it so far.

According to PIA spokesman, Azam Saigol ruled out PIA’s privatisation while talking to President CBA (Collective Bargaining Agent) Union of PIA, Shamim Akmal, who called on him and conveyed the apprehensions of PIA employees regarding rumours of privatisation.

The PIA chairman said that as per decision of parliament taken earlier this year, the government of Pakistan would retain at least 51% shares of the airline, in addition to retaining the management control. Shamim Akmal thanked the chairman for this clear message and said PIA employees are appreciative of his commitment towards the revival of PIA.

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