PIA Employees Unions will Protest Against Privatization
Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees (JACPIAE)
Karachi (Friday, July 19th, 2013) – Unions and associations of PIA employees under the banner of the Joint Action Committee (JACPIAE) have protested the move to privatise the national carrier.
“As charming as it appears, the move is designed to grab priceless assets such as the Roosevelt Hotel (NYC) and numerous properties within the country,” said a JACPIAE spokesman, adding that the committee will approach Supreme Court to take notice of the conspiracy and end ad-hocism in the corporation.
The spokesperson questioned the ongoing privatisation drive and unofficial plans being unveiled with no clear-cut policy. “We demand a clarification from the PIA management. Why is it advising for the privatisation of the airline under a flawed and half cooked business plan, which is neither shared with the employees nor disclosed openly to the press,” said the spokesman.
The PIA management’s business plan reportedly involves an upfront investment of Rs16 billion to shore up the national carrier to a position where it could attract a strategic investor willing to buy 25-30 percent stake, including management control.
“If the management is finding it difficult to run the airline, the control then should be given to the employees who will surely turn around the airline within two years,” said the spokesman, adding that JACPIAE has a comprehensive plan to make PIA a profitable entity.
He went on to add that “forces” with hidden agendas are trying to keep employees away from the prime minister, who could have given them representation on the PIA board.
“Those with vested interests are afraid of employees’ unity, which has thwarted attempts of selling international routes in the past and will defend PIA assets from the same threats now,” he said.
The spokesperson went on to advise the PML-N government against the privatisation of the airline. “Instead of going for privatization, the government should take extreme measures to end corruption in PIA and try all those people who looted the national airline since 2000.”
The PIA is a commercial organisation, which cannot be made a profitable entity without eliminating political interference, said the JACPIAE spokesperson. “PIA has the best infrastructure in every aspect such as organisational strength, assets, network, engineering, maintenance, and capable human resource,” he said, adding that one of the major reasons for the downfall of the national flag carrier are the top-tier appointments, which are made at the whims of the government. He advised the PML-N government to handover management control to PIA employees.
(Published in Daily TheNews Lahore on 20/7/2013)