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Pilots, engineers excluded

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
By our correspondent

KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Monday announced a 20 per cent increase in salaries of its employees effective January 1, 2009, but excluded pilots and engineers from the rise.

The Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA) with 8,983 members has entered into an agreement with the management whereby salaries will rise by 20pc with dues to be paid in three quarters.

Similarly, the PIA Senior Staff Association with 5,890 members and ATAP with 1,095 members had also agreed to a 20pc pay rise effective from August 1 but with no backlog to be paid to them, it added.

Quoting Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, the PIA said that 1,200-1,300 members including those belonging to Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), Society of Aircraft Engineers Pakistan (SAEP) and Flight Engineers National Association (FENA), who have not yet held talks with the management, would not get any pay rise.

Mukhtar hoped PALPA, SAEP and FENA too would come to the negotiation table and hold dialogue with the airline management to have their issues resolved. PALPA, SAEP and FENA representing 1,300 employees were yet to negotiate with the management, he said. “Whether these are pilots or engineers, it is better to hold negotiations,” Mukhtar pointed out and said the pay rise was being given at a time when the economy as well as the financial position of PIA itself was before everyone.

“Our effort is to make the PIA a viable airline through various cost-cutting measures, already devised, and induct new aircraft so as to reduce the aircraft-employee ratio.” However, the statement did not mention any of those cost-cutting measures.

He said the employees had been told to cooperate with the management and whatever savings would be achieved through cost-cutting measures, a certain percentage of the same would also be shared with them on quarterly basis.

The defence minister, who is also chairman of PIA, said results could be achieved if they worked in loss-affected areas and went along while considering the airline as their own. He was confident that issues with PALPA, SAEP and FENA would be resolved in a couple of days and they would get the benefit by July 31.

PIA Managing Director Capt Aijaz Haroon said talks were held on Friday without PALPA, SEAP and FENA representatives. “Issues would have been resolved if they had also participated in the talks.”

He said a campaign to slow down the operations of the airline had affected the flights during the last 48 hours. It would be over soon, he said. He said PALPA was demanding a 65pc pay rise which was not possible while engineers were seeking an increase equal to 55pc of what pilots got which meant a rise of 210 per cent, something impossible to meet.
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