PIA privatisation: Unions to shut offices across country from tomorrow

Published: January 25, 2016
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Air operations will also be halted if the demand to withdraw airline's privatisation is not met, says representative. PHOTO: REUTERS

Air operations will also be halted if the demand to withdraw airline's privatisation is not met, says representative. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: The unions of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) announced on Monday to close all offices across the country from Tuesday to protest against the government’s decision to privatise the national carrier.

They also threatened to halt flight operations from February 2 if the government will not take back its decision.

Hundreds of employees affiliated with half a dozen unions gathered at the PIA head office in Karachi on Monday as their leaders intensified criticism of the privatisation plan, which the government insists is only a move to involve strategic investors against a minority stake to address the financial woes of the airline.

PIA sell-off ordinance converted into bill

However, the unions made it clear that they won’t roll back strike plan unless uncertainty is removed.

“We don’t care if it is two or 26 per cent that they want to sell,” said Nasrullah Afridi, president of Pakistan Airlines Cabin Crew Association and spokesperson for the confederation of unions. “We won’t accept it,” he added.

The protest is also seen as a move by the unions to press for inclusion of their representatives in management affairs. This was evident when the unions protested against former managing director Aijaz Haroon in 2011, resulting in his ouster from the office.

On January 5, the federal government converted the PIA privatisation ordinance into a bill to keep the PIA sell-off option open. The ordinance was repealed after the opposition invoked Article 89 of the Constitution in the Senate in a rare move.

Reader Comments (15)

  • Aalo Ghosht
    Jan 25, 2016 - 7:28PM

    And this is exactly the reason why the national carrier should be privatised.Recommend

  • Ali
    Jan 25, 2016 - 7:44PM

    Please close the PIA offices.
    Do the country a favour and don’t re-open them and please forfeit your wages.

    Why should we subsidise air travel for the rich by taking from the poor.
    The billions ploughed into PIA could be used for hospitals and schools.Recommend

  • Sohail
    Jan 25, 2016 - 9:07PM

    If PIA, Steel Mill, SSGC and PSO would privatize, PPP will loose 80% of its votes in Sindh.Recommend

  • Malik Saab
    Jan 25, 2016 - 9:53PM

    I am a tax payer of Pakistan. I want the privatization of the White elephant known as PIA immediately. Stop playing with my tax payer money and i do not approve that my hard earned tax money will be paid for the low efficiency entities like Pak Stell and PIA. Recommend

  • Naeem Khan
    Jan 25, 2016 - 10:10PM

    Looks like the bloated PIA unions are realizing that the gravy train they have been riding on the backs of Pakistani taxpayers for decades is about to stop and off load them for good. This airline has been run into the ground by the politicians, military and the civil servants, they have treated the airline like their fiefdom and above all they have bloated the air line with incompetent political hacks for years. It is time to privatize it and make it mean and lean airline, get rid of these leaches for good and let them do what ever they want. The government must not be pressured or blackmailed by these good for nothing unions and those who are trying the destroy the airline must be prosecuted. The Government should go to the court and let the court declare that PIA is an essential security part of the country and arm themselves with the law and fire those who are creating mischief. Enough is enough, off load this excessive baggage sooner the better. Recommend

  • Jan 25, 2016 - 10:39PM

    Its better if they can just shut it down completely. What is the use of this crap airline ?Recommend

  • Arman Zain
    Jan 25, 2016 - 10:39PM

    Please fire all of them!
    As their job efficiency speaks for itself.

    Let them protest while being jobless. Recommend

  • Sodomite
    Jan 26, 2016 - 1:30AM

    Brave Unionwallas, thank you attempting to save PIA. Politicians have eaten Pakistan’s HEART OUT. Save PIA for our future generations. We know what they did to Railways and to Public Road Transport that existed in Pakistan well into the 1960s. Recommend

  • traveller
    Jan 26, 2016 - 2:04AM

    no one really use PIA for international flights.. we will be more than happy to use Daewoo for domestic travel. so please shutdown PIA once and for all.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 26, 2016 - 3:07AM

    Let the unions try running PIA themselves without government subsidy and see how long they last! PIA has nearly five times the world average employee-to-aircraft ratio because it was used as a hiring hall for politically connected cadres over the last few decades!
    Time to shoot this white elephant and end the countries misery!Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 26, 2016 - 5:15AM

    Better a hole in the wing and inebriated flown Shaheen than a bloated money-guzzling PIA !Recommend

  • Abdul Piracha
    Jan 26, 2016 - 7:21AM

    If the union close the offices their paycheck should be stopped immediately.Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Jan 26, 2016 - 11:15AM

    @Abdul Piracha:
    Don’t worry this country should be called Flipflopland as nothing will happen and we’ll be back square one or, in other words, the good ole’ times !Recommend

  • Jawaria shahid
    Feb 4, 2016 - 1:27AM

    We want all white elephants privatization effective by the end of this year, we as Pakistani will not let you eat our share. Stop being stubborn, privatization is a pattern which every develop-ed country has followed and achieved results. You people do not want to work, that’s why you are afraid of privatization, if you are right why didn’t you let us see the time of privatization, your jobs are reserved up till contract time, than later the company will keep the required people.Recommend

  • Riaz Ahmed
    Feb 5, 2016 - 12:19AM

    We all will be very Happy, This airline must be closed forever. It should have new air lines with new management. immediately have to stop the pay CHQs . All kind of mess is creating from PPP. Recommend

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