PIA union stops flight operations for four hours

Flights take off after sacked manager reinstated.

Our Correspondent June 20, 2013
At least four flights, including one international flight experienced delays. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI: Hundreds of passengers of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were stranded at the Karachi airport and some left to sweat in the aircraft as the union stopped airline operation over removal of Lahore’s Ticket Office manager.

It took four hours of negotiations and only after the management accepted the union’s demand to reinstate Manager Rauf Ahmed that the flights were allowed to take off.

“Government can use all its political influence but we won’t back off,” said Faisal Kayani, information secretary of collective bargaining agent (CBA), which is controlled by PPP’s Peoples Unity.

“We told the management that it cannot let the politicians interfere in PIA affairs. The manager was suspended without any worthy reason.”

The union stopped pilots and cabin crew from operating four flights including PK-731 from Karachi to Jeddah, PK-350 from Karachi to Peshawar, PK-306 from Karachi to Lahore and PK-540 from Karachi to Sukkur.

A PIA spokesman said negotiations concluded successfully, but he did not share any details. “It was a departmental matter and I can’t tell you more right now.”

This is the second time in few days that the union has come in the limelight. The unions, led by the PPP and ruling PML-N, clashed last week that left half a dozen people injured.

In his brief remarks, Peoples Unity President Hidayatullah blamed the management for blowing up a small issue. “Bogus FIRs are being registered against our people.”

The unions of PIA are notorious for their violent nature. In 2011, they joined hands against former managing director Aijaz Haroon and forced him to resign after unprecedented strikes, which saw cancellation of hundreds of flights and thousands of stranded passengers.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2013.

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Raja Islam | 8 years ago | Reply

The first step to fixing PIA's problems would be to ban unions. The next one would be to get rid of all the political appointees who are corrupt and inefficient.

aaaaa | 8 years ago | Reply

Break these unions, and fire these peole. PIA has double the industry average for personnel per aircraft, the highest in the world. Time to get rid of them all. Its the only way to save this airline.

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