No Increase in salary yet – PIA admin, employees row likely

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No Increase in salary yet – PIA admin, employees row likely
LAHORE (Thursday, June 22, 2011) – Successive delays in holding meeting of PIA Board of Directors (BoD), to review increase in salary package, has led to a pressure cooker situation which can burst into another ‘admin versus employee crisis’ leading to massive losses in the form of strikes.
This BoD meeting is highly anticipated among the employees as its agenda most likely is to review the salaries and announce an increase. However, the meeting has been postponed thrice already for one reason or the other which has bred skepticism in the employees associations, CBA and the joint action committee, who believe that the management is buying time to give peanuts in raises.
The BoD meeting was initially scheduled for June 13, 2011 at Bhurban but was postponed till the 16th with the reason that chairman was busy in the post-budget National Assembly session. The meeting which was to be held in Islamabad on the 16th was postponed further as the chairman left for an official foreign tour. The meeting was then set to be held on 18th at Karachi but because the Chairman Ahmed Mukhtar left to be at the Paris Airshow, this meeting has once again been postponed without any notification of a solid date. However, the tentative date being considered is the 30th of this month.
An emergency meeting of the joint action committee of PIA Employees (JACPIAE) was held Tuesday wherein extreme reservations were reflected over the postponement of the BoD meeting for the third time.
The meeting deliberated that the unwarranted delays and postponements are occurring because increase in salaries, pension percentage reconsideration and regularisation of daily wagers were included in the proceedings of the BoD meeting.
The meeting noted that from 2009 to date, the salaries of PTCL employees has increased by 75 per cent, that of Pakistan Railways by 75 per cent, Pakistan Armed Forces by 115 per cent, judiciary by 115 per cent and that of government employees by 15 per cent. However, the salaries of PIA employees have not increased even by 1 per cent in this period.
Terming these delays as a show of lack of interest in the employees’ well-being and the progress of the airline, the meeting identified visible unrest among the PIA employees and brewing skepticism which can prove to be dangerous. The meeting demanded 100 per cent increase in the salaries of all the PIA employees PALPA, SAEP and FENA. PIA has already losses of billions of rupees this year owing to the strikes, and the employees don’t want the national carrier to suffer more due to the careless attitude of the administration, the meeting concluded.
Office-bearers of the PIA Senior Staff Association (PIASSA) too are uncomfortable with the current state of delays and feared that if the PIA administration failed to give due relief to the employees, it could lead to another standoff between the admin and employees.
PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar, while explaining the situation said these delays are only circumstantial and do not have any ill-intentions behind them. He said the issue of salary raises is an important one for sure and the administration understands the sentiments of the employees in the current circumstances.
To a question regarding the possibility of another conflict situation between the employees and administration if the employees are not given compensation close to their demands, he said the demand for a 100 per cent increase is unreasonable however PIA plans to formulate a workable solution. He concluded by saying that the chances of a standoff are highly unlikely as PIA has compensated Aircraft Technologists Association of Pakistan (ATAP) and had signed an MoU for 15 per cent increase for PIASSA which it plans to implement and because a large number of employees already have assurances regarding this increase being implemented there is little chance of a mass conflict.
(Published in “Daily The News” on June 23, 2011)

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