PIA Trade Unions Now Dictates Management

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Karachi: Trade unions now dictate PIA management: officials
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has started making key management changes under the pressure of union leaders, who have also effectively blocked fraud investigations against some of their colleagues, senior officials said on Monday.
Unions are dictating the new management led by Managing Director Nadeem Khan Yousufzai to appoint people they think fit for managerial tasks, they added.
The government removed Aijaz Haroon from the position of PIA managing director last month, succumbing to a four-day strike led by the unions. It was the first time in the history of the national flag carrier that more than 400 flights had been cancelled because of protests.
“The whole system is breaking down,” an official said. “Union leaders are openly calling for vendetta against Aijaz Haroon and the managers, who worked under him. They have become so powerful that we have to agree with all their demands.”
The union leaders have submitted a list of demands, which include that they be allowed to suggest names for directors of marketing, human resource and engineering departments, documents available with The News show. The management has already removed ten pilots, who had been performing executive duties. Most importantly, Senior General Manager Coordination Haroon Abdullah has been asked to hand over all the reports of disciplinary proceedings against employees.
“Since September last year, Abdullah had been working on fraud and misappropriation complaints. His office was responsible for carrying out all the investigations. Now the cases will be referred back to departmental heads, who can easily be charmed to drop the charges,” another official said.
The unions also want placement of Aijaz Haroon, Haroon Abdullah, Mamoon Rasheed and Director Engineering Maqsood Ahmed in the surplus pool.
“It’s a humiliation for senior officials to be sent to the surplus pool,” an affected official said. “Can you imagine workers telling the management, who can join the organisation?”
The new managing director has reestablished the posts that were abolished three years back by his predecessor to save costs.
As a result, five positions of general managers have been created afresh. These GMs will be responsible for fleet planning, economic planning, special projects, security services and flight services, the documents say.
In just a few days, Yousufzai has also approved changes in the corporate structure of the organisation in a bid to pacify the unions, officials said. “Deputy Managing Director Salim Sayani has been given all the powers. He had originally been brought in only for aircraft overhaul earnings of the airline.”
PIA has also reverted to manual system of assigning cabin crew to flights that has been long criticised for promoting bribery within the organisation. Pilots, airhostesses and stewards get extra allowances for taking foreign flights. The flight crew scheduling system was computerised a few years back to give equal opportunity to everyone, especially the newcomers. “If someone complained that he was being discriminated against, we could immediately check on the computer his record and the allowance he has earned,” a senior official said.
“Union leaders led the protest mainly against the code-sharing agreement with Turkish Airlines. Has anyone come up with another solution to address financial woes of the airline? No!”
A PIA spokesman said that the management had not been taking dictation from the unions. “The management is taking decisions on its own. The posts of general managers had been vacant. And the pilots working in executive jobs have seen just a change in title.”

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