Back on track: PIA union workers call off strike after eight days of protests

Published: February 9, 2016
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First domestic flight, PK-308, took off on Tuesday, which left Karachi for Islamabad. PHOTO: REUTERS

First domestic flight, PK-308, took off on Tuesday, which left Karachi for Islamabad. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of protesting Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) workers have called of the eight-day-long strike and asked its members to resume flight operations.

“Since the committee has been given enough assurance on the issue of privatisation, it was not required to further continue the strike and stall the flight operations,” Chairman JAC Captain Suhail Baloch said while speaking to the media.

“We will prove that we can revive the ailing national airline. I don’t see why we can’t do that if we all work hard and are able to revive PIA within a time of six months to a year,” he added.

He said further details will be disclosed after the union meets with Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore tonight (Tuesday).

Meanwhile, after eight days of stalled operations due to the ongoing protests by the airline employees, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) restored its domestic flights on Tuesday.

According to Express News, the first domestic flight to take off was PK-308, which left Karachi for Islamabad, restoring the operations after days of strike by workers protesting against priviatisation of the national flag carrier.

The Pakistan Air Lines Pilot Association (Palpa) did not endorse the stance taken by the PIA’s Joint Action Committee (JAC) and called for resuming the flight operations.

PIA staff, govt stick to their guns

The strike was further weakened by the groups formed within the JAC, who disagreed with the approach held by the union leadership.

Earlier during the day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ruled out the possibility of talks with protesting workers until they return to work.

PIA strike takes a toll on airport businesses

The premier appears to have stiffened his stance, barring his party members from meeting any labour representatives until PIA’s long-disrupted flight schedule becomes normal again.

Insiders in the PM House told Express News that Privatisation Commission Chairman Muhammad Zubair has been directed to continue working on setting up a new airline as decided earlier, besides looking for a potential buyer for the ailing national carrier.

Reader Comments (14)

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Feb 9, 2016 - 5:31PM

    There is no incentive to purchase the “ailing pia” for any rational buyer out there. Why would any buyer want to start its operations with a $3 billion debt and 18,000 fat pigeons whose only job is to enjoy the free perks and privileges.Recommend

  • Point
    Feb 9, 2016 - 7:15PM

    Pakistan must put strict work force. Any employee who doesnt work from 9-5 should be given warning. Fingerprint attendance at every office. And strict code should be implemented. Doctors and PIA employees have made good joke of this country. They are the rich don’s of this country. Who care less about humanity or civilian and more about the Quaid-e-Azam on a note.Recommend

  • Saleem
    Feb 9, 2016 - 7:26PM

    Union as well as (some in) government are responsible for losses that PIA incurred due to eight-day strike. And there is no account of what private sector or consumers lost because of all that. Who is going to pay for those losses?

    Union as well as governemnt should foot the losses.Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    Feb 9, 2016 - 7:49PM

    @Brainy Bhaijan:
    if the deal is done, minister for privatization should get Nishan e Pakistan solely for the transaction.
    i think government will have to absorb the deficit and transfer fat pigeons on its payroll. may be a golden handshake will be offered like PTCL and commercial banks.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Feb 9, 2016 - 9:15PM

    “Revive”, translation: fare hikes across the board, notwithstanding lower cost of jet fuel. Recommend

  • Shakil Ahmed Khan
    Feb 9, 2016 - 9:22PM

    Shahbaz Sharif is now aviation and air transport minister too?

    PIA is more damaged by appointing the people who has conflict of interests, Govt intentionally trying to bring it down. PIA assets are not more than its debt! three dictators made this airline function well and acquire assets that are worth billions and bring in half a billion every year as income. that political lot is so want to have them.

    PIA may have more staff but its actual spend on it not out of line with other airlines because of cheap labour.

    The bigger loss it is caused by discounts and perks being given to parliamentarians and other lot.

    Change the management, run it as professional organisation, it will be back to its glory very soon. Recommend

  • Sodomite
    Feb 9, 2016 - 10:12PM

    Kiss PIA goodbye. New airlines?? Pakistanis are not made in the mode of Richard Branson and Howard Hughes. You will soon see new airlines given landing rights at secondary airports in Europe and the US and lose their legacy rights, like Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, JFK, Frankfurt Main and Haneda, Japan etc.., . Recommend

  • Pukar
    Feb 9, 2016 - 10:20PM

    So, what was all the halla gulla about? Who is going to answer for the death of 2 PIA employees? Much ado about nothing.Recommend

  • Burhan Khan
    Feb 9, 2016 - 10:48PM

    The PM will have to be careful flying with PIA now, he cannot trust any of their staff.Recommend

  • Awais
    Feb 9, 2016 - 10:52PM

    “Back in Air” perhaps could have been a better title to the story.Recommend

  • Dr.M.M. Khan
    Feb 10, 2016 - 12:04AM

    It seems the strikers had only plan A and no B. When the former failed they capitulated. Let us not forget two precious lives were lost in this strike.Recommend

  • Hussain
    Feb 10, 2016 - 12:45AM

    No body wants to buy loss making there are 1500 ghost employees who go to work once a month to collect there wages any general r cornel when they retirement they go on pia pay roll and all the family they say it belongs to there family zardari family bankrupt this country Recommend

  • Sohail
    Feb 10, 2016 - 12:47AM

    PIA needs to release three-quarters (that is 3 of every 4 employees) of its work force. This can be done through a system of ranking. Each and every employee (including managers) need to be ranked according to their job function in relation to others in the same job function. This can be based on the quality of their work, business acumen, work ethics, knowledge, adaptability, people and technical skills and other relevant criteria. The lowest ranked people should be given their two week notice and released from their jobs. The board of director also need to rank the top management and fire underperformers. The board should only receive a token salary. PIA is ridiculously overstaffed and underserved. It is a laughing stock of the entire world. Even Pakistanis do not want to use PIA. Recommend

  • Feb 10, 2016 - 9:54AM

    Surprising! When there is a Privatization minister…….what has CM Shahbaz Sharif got to do with the PIA unions and their grievances? Really surprising! Salams Recommend

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