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Thread: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

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  1. #21
    Senior Member Felix's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    PM orders probe into role of PIA management

    ISLAMABAD: The government is all but convinced that the recent protests by Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) employees were ‘engineered’, and Aviation Secretary Irfan Ellahi has been tasked with determining the factors that contributed to the complete collapse of national airline’s operations.

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the aviation secretary at a top-level meeting on Monday to carry out an inquiry, an aide to the prime minister told Dawn. The inquiry, the aide explained, centred around the role of top PIA management officials, who panicked, instead of standing their ground in the face of the protesting Joint Action Committee (JAC).

    “The government is in possession of evidence, which clearly suggests that a few senior management officials were ‘hand-in-glove’ with the JAC in bringing the national flag carrier’s operations to a grinding halt. However, a formal investigation is necessary in order to proceed against those responsible,” the aide said.

    The absence of key directors, coupled with the sudden resignation of PIA Chairman Nasser Jaffer, smacks of conspiracy, which the government intends to unearth through this investigation, the aide said.

    Aide says entire episode smacks of conspiracy; airline only able to restart operations in northern sector

    Monday’s meeting was attended by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Aviation Division Secretary Irfan Ellahi, PM’s Adviser on Aviation Shujaat Azeem, Senator Mushahidullah Khan and Privatisation Commission Chairman Mohammad Zubair.

    Mr Zubair, who also met JAC representatives over the weekend, did not have the mandate to do so, contended a senior government official privy to the meeting. He added that the PM didn’t like the idea of Mr Zubair meeting JAC members.

    The head of the Privatisation Commission, the official said, was part of a new crop that had emerged within the ruling party lately, who could be categorised as being ‘more loyal than the king’. The official said that while Mr Zubair might’ve thought that bringing protesting PIA employees back to work would be a feather in his cap, but events transpired otherwise.

    However, Mr Zubair insisted that he had the PM’s blessing to meet the JAC members. “I met them on the orders of the PM. Since it is a sensitive issue, I could not have gone ahead with the meeting without the PM’s say-so,” he told Dawn.

    Separately, when asked about the government’s possible plan to create a new state-run airline, a sitting PML-N lawmaker who is privy to the developments told Dawn that the government had long planned to raise a new airline, which could either be a PIA subsidiary or a new organisation. “The proposal is there, but only time will tell how the aviation division plans to put some meat on the bare bones of this ambitious plan.”

    Meanwhile, the government was able to manage partial resumption of flight operations, mainly from the northern sector. PIA spokesperson Daniyal Gillani told Dawn that over the past couple of days, over 30 flights – both domestic and international – had taken off from Islamabad and Lahore airports. The northern sector, PIA claims, constitutes 70 per cent of the airline’s total operations.

    So far, Mr Gillani said, only one flight had taken off from Karachi airport because JAC members were threatening employees who wished to return to work. However, the government was providing security to employees who returned, he said.

  2. #22
    Member Latif's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    KARACHI: The Joint action Committee (JAC) of the employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) announced to end the strike and asked the employees to resume flight operations across the country with immediate effect.

    Addressing a press conference, JAC chairman Sohail Baloch announced the decision to end the strike and requested "all the airline workers to work with full dedication and pay no heed to anyone trying to disrupt the flight operations".

    Baloch said that, "A kind friend advised us to call off the strike."

    The JAC chairman said he will meet Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif Will reach in Lahore on Tuesday (today).

    "We hope that the meeting with Punjab chief minister will be satisfactory and beneficial for both for the government and the employees of PIA," said Baloch.

    When asked if the JAC has retracted from its demands, Baloch said he will "apprise media about the developments after meeting with the Punjab chief minister".

  3. #23
    Senior Member Felix's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    I wonder how much $\ and business has been lost by the crippled airline

  4. #24
    Senior Member Jameel's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    Showdown over ‘mishandling’ of PIA strike likely in Senate today

    ISLAMABAD: Despite an announcement by PIA employees to end their weeklong strike against the proposed privatisation of the airline, a showdown between the government and opposition is likely in Senate over the alleged mishandling of the issue when the upper house of the parliament will meet here on Wednesday.

    The opposition believes that employees of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have shown a good gesture by ending their strike and the ball is now in the government’s court and the rulers will now have to come out with their future plan of action in clear terms.

    PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, when contacted, dispelled the impression that the PIA employees’ decision to end their strike ahead of the requisitioned Senate session has deflated the opposition’s plan to lodge a strong protest on the floor of the parliament.

    The decision, he said, in fact had provided them an opportunity to take the government to task on the mishandling of the entire issue.

    Mr Babar said now the focus of the debate would be on how to turnaround the PIA without its privatisation and they would like to hear from the government about its future plan.

    Rules silent about agenda of session
    “We will ask the government to tell the house about those who are responsible for mishandling the situation and causing a huge financial and reputation loss to the country,” he said, adding: “We will also call for making the responsible persons accountable for it.”

    The PPP senator said that the opposition would also give its proposals to the government for reforms in PIA.

    “Privatisation is not the only solution for turning around the PIA. There are other better solutions which can be discussed,” he said.

    Mr Babar said that a meeting of representatives of all opposition parties had been convened before the start of the session to devise a joint strategy to give the government a tough time.

    On the other hand, Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, when contacted, said that apparently there seemed to be no reason for the opposition to protest over the issue after the PIA employees’ decision to end their strike. However, he said, the opposition members would definitely dig out some new points so that they could lodge a protest.

    The Senate had witnessed a full-fledged debate on the PIA issue in the recent past which ended up in verbal clashes and walkouts by opposition members.

    Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani has summoned the session on the requisition of the opposition members which they had submitted hours after the killing of two protesting PIA employees because of the firing in Karachi on Feb 2.

    Besides seeking discussion on the PIA issue, the opposition members have also sought discussion on the issues of insufficient reduction in oil prices and the government’s decision to burden gas consumers with Rs101 billion through imposition of a new tax.

    The requisition notice had been signed by 34 senators belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Balochistan National Party-Awami and some independent members of Fata.

    Interestingly, no member of the Awami National Party (ANP) has signed the requisition notice despite the fact that the ANP is a part of the combined opposition under the leadership of PPP’s Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan.

    The opposition members in the National Assembly also submitted the requisition notice on the same issues on the same day. However, the government has so far not convened the National Assembly session.

    Meanwhile, the Senate Secretariat issued on Tuesday an eight-point agenda for the Wednesday’s session and surprisingly it does not contain any agenda item submitted by opposition members in their requisition notice.

    The agenda comprises government business, including presentation of some committee reports, laying of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, and the Minimum Wages for Unskilled Workers (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

    Sources in the Senate Secretariat pointed out a big anomaly, saying that Senate rules were completely silent on the issue of the agenda for the requisitioned session. So much so, they said, there had been no mention of the word requisition in Senate rules.

    They said that under Article 54 of the Constitution, one-fourth members could submit a requisition notice for summoning of the Senate session within two weeks time. However, they said, the Senate rules had never been amended for implementation of the provision of the constitution.

    They said that 13 sessions of Senate had so far been requisitioned in the past and in all those sessions the then chairmen had allowed discussion on the opposition’s agenda by allowing suspension of the rules.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Wattan's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    LAHORE: A delegation of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of PIA employees returned to Karachi ‘empty handed’ after a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Wednesday.

    It appeared to be a ‘face-saving’ endeavour by the JAC members as CM Sharif promised nothing except that he would convey their concerns to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

    Interestingly, after his ‘marathon meeting’ with the five-member delegation, led by JAC chairman Capt Sohail Baloch, at the Chief Minister House, there was no word from the chief minister about withdrawal of show-cause notices issued to 135 ‘protesting leaders’, including Mr Baloch.

    He also did not say anything about the privatisation of PIA, endorsing the prime minister’s stance that the government would not succumb to ‘blackmail’.

    Shahbaz Sharif only promises to convey employees’ concerns to prime minister
    “I will convey the point of view of the JAC to the prime minister. The committee has done well to call off the strike. Restoration of the glory of PIA should be the prime objective of all concerned and we will take decision without consideration of personal likes and dislikes,” Shahbaz Sharif said after the meeting. “It is our joint duty to work for the betterment of PIA.”

    He also offered Fateha for the two PIA employees killed during a rally in Karachi on the first day of the strike.

    Sohail Baloch told reporters after the meeting that the JAC would again meet the chief minister and give him more input for revival of the national flag carrier.

    “We discussed all things, including revival plan, aviation policy, aircraft and different PIA departments, with the chief minister. He has assured us that he will extend full help in complete overhaul of PIA,” the JAC chief said, adding that the chief minister had also assured them that their concerns would be brought to the knowledge of the prime minister.

    A source told Dawn that the chief minister had made it clear to the JAC members that they should not go on strike again against any decision of the government taken to make the airline profitable. “The chief minister also gave no assurance to the JAC regarding downsizing in PIA,” he said.

    As the airline authorities issued more show-cause notices to the employees on Wednesday for allegedly having instigated their colleagues to join the strike, the JAC delegation appeared to be helpless to persuade the chief minister to intervene and withdraw the notices.

    “The total number of show-cause notices rose to 135 on Wednesday,” a senior PIA official told Dawn. “We have no directive whatsoever from the government to stop action against the employees directing the strike.”

    He said the JAC had been left with no option but to go for a “face-saving move” after the airline authorities managed to restore the flight operations partially during the strike.

    He claimed that most of the employees were worried about their jobs after the strike prolonged. “They were worried that they might lose jobs before any government move to initiate downsizing in PIA,” the official said, adding that it was all over for the protesting employees and the JAC.

    On Wednesday, PIA operated over 130 domestic and international flights.

    Mohammad Asghar adds from Rawalpindi: The PIA management has reduced fares for domestic and major international flights.

    A spokesman for the airline said the fares had been reduced to stabilise unrealistic hike and facilitate “our valued customers”. Umrah fares have also been cut.

    “Fares on Karachi-Islamabad-Karachi and Karachi-Lahore-Karachi flights will now be starting from Rs7,500 and return tickets for Umrah from Rs54,500 for passengers from Lahore/Islamabad and Rs44,500 for passengers from Karachi,” he said. The airline planned 117 flights for Wednesday – 75 domestic and 42 international.

    He said that because of adjustments being made to accommodate the maximum number of passengers in a relatively short time, some changes in timings might occur. He advised passengers to contact PIA centres (051-111-786-786 and 021-111-786-786) before coming to airports and get updates about exact timing and confirmation of flights.

    EMPLOYEES RELEASED: Three protesting employees arrested under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order were released on Wednesday.

    Sohail Akhtar, Tariq Aziz Dar and Saleem Akhtar Bhatti were detained on Monday and sent to Rawalpindi’s Adiyala Jail for seven days.

    They were released after a three-member delegation of the Joint Action Committee of PIA employees held a meeting with Rawalpindi’s District Coordination Officer Sajid Zafar Dall.

    The JAC members requested the DCO to release their colleagues because the employees had already called off the strike.

    After an hour-long meeting with the delegation, the DCO ordered the release of the three employees.

    JAC member Zaigham Kiani said all PIA employees at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport had joined their duty and flight operations were going on smoothly.

  6. #26
    Elite Member sparkling's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    PIA starts action against strikers

    LAHORE: Some 165 employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) are facing the axe for their active role in the week-long flight suspension of the national flag carrier as the government appears to be in ‘no mood to pardon’ them.

    The PIA management indicated the government’s mood on Thursday by sending home 11 contractual employees for their alleged role in the strike that caused cancellation of over 800 international and domestic flights and about Rs4 billion loss to the national exchequer.

    A source privy to the development told Dawn that the PIA management had begun firing ‘main characters’ of the strike on the ‘direction’ of the government.

    “The PIA management issued show-cause notices to another 30 employees on Thursday increasing the total number to 165. Members of the Joint Action Committee of the PIA employees may also face the axe as they have been served with notices,” he said, adding that those served with notices were from all major stations, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Quetta. They have been given a 72-hour deadline to explain their position.

    Making a last-ditch effort to save their jobs, JAC chairman Capt Sohail Baloch, deputy convener Safdar Anjum, president Nasrullah and secretary Obaidullah wrote a letter to the PIA management on Thursday requesting it to withdraw the show-cause notices.

    “As notices have been issued to hundreds of PIA employees, therefore, the issue has been taken up by JAC in the light of a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He categorically stated after developing an understanding of the problems and grievances of the PIA employees that the matter will be put up before the prime minister as soon as he arrives from Qatar,” the letter says.

    It said an announcement had been made on the media that all show-cause notices issued to employees were being withdrawn. But it did not mention who made the announcement.

    “Without prejudice to the respective rights of the employees and without going into merits of their respective case it is requested that as the matter is being handled at the highest level by the Punjab chief minister, therefore, it is requested that the show-cause notices may kindly be withdrawn and all/any actions already taken against the employees of PIA, including daily wages employees, may also be withdrawn.”

    The JAC, however, has pinpointed that there are “some officials within the aviation who are bent upon sabotaging the process of amicable resolution”.

    “This request may be considered on humanitarian grounds and in the interest of PIA. The same has been made only with bonafide intentions to avoid further untoward situation and unrest, so that the interest of PIA and its employees is protected,” the letter said.

  7. #27
    Senior Member manuu's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    PIA restricts movement of its employees

    RAWALPINDI: The employees of PIA have been barred from visiting offices of the airline other than their own and directed to obtain a written permission from their in-charges or supervisory officers even for going to the medical centre.

    The aim to impose the restrictions on the ‘unauthorised’ movement of the employees is to ensure that they worked solidly during the working hours, a source said.

    He said the directive was issued on February 10 to all the PIA employees, including those who had been on a strike against the privatisation of the national flag carrier.

    The directive issued by the PIA management also told the employees to keep their official identity cards while moving within the premises which might be produced to the security staff or any other authorised officer on demand.

    It said the security staff had been directed not to allow any employee to enter the PIA premises without their identity cards.

    Directed to obtain permission even for going to medical centre
    The employees have also been directed not to move from point to point without an official business. And officers concerned will permit the staff working under them to leave their place of work for personal reasons where sufficient justification existed.

    Under certain circumstances the employees shall be permitted to visit other offices or premises during working hours without obtaining prior written permission from his or her immediate officer.

    It said the permission along with the identity card shall be produced when required by security officials or a competent authority.

    Movement authorisation slips were also delivered to the departments concerned.

    The directive issued by the PIA management said any incident of loitering of employees during working hours shall be taken seriously and dealt with as per rules.

    It further said that it would be the responsibility of sectional head or supervisor concerned to ensure that no staff member working under them left their place of duty without permission of the incharge or supervisory officer.

    Peoples Unity of PIA employees’ union general secretary Sohail Mukhtar said: “The directive restricting the unauthorised movement of PIA employing has been issued under Essential Services Act invoked by the government as no such restrictions were there in the PIA in the past.”

    He said under the new restrictions, a PIA employee can’t leave his work place for medical reasons without submitting a “movement authorisation slip.”

    However, he said since the Joint Action Committee’s talks with government were in progress, it would be too early to comment on the development.

    On the other hand, Zaigham Sajjad Kiyani, the general secretary Air League of Employees Union (CBA), said: “Yes, such a circular barring the PIA employees from visiting other offices or premises has been issued by the PIA management but it seems that they wanted to ensure the presence of employees on duty during working hours.”

    He said union office at Benazir Bhutto International Airport was still functional as it had not been closed so far under the Essential Services Act.

  8. #28
    Member Tari's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    Not that I agreed with the strike,there was total disunity among the PIA employees.

    No wonder the govt was able to break up the strike so easily.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Felix's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    Quote Originally Posted by Tari View Post
    Not that I agreed with the strike,there was total disunity among the PIA employees.

    No wonder the govt was able to break up the strike so easily.
    Money was the key factor. If you strike then you have no $$

  10. #30
    Senior Member Fassi's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    Quote Originally Posted by Tari View Post
    Not that I agreed with the strike,there was total disunity among the PIA employees.

    No wonder the govt was able to break up the strike so easily.
    Bunch of losers.

  11. #31
    Senior Member Fassi's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    PM announces compensation for heirs of deceased PIA employees

    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday announced financial assistance of Rs 2.5 million each for the heirs of the two deceased Pakistan International Airline employees.

    The said PIA employees were killed during a firing incident outside the Karachi airport during a protest against the proposed privatisation of the national flag carrier.

    According to a PM House statement, the prime minister said “loss of the lives of PIA employees was not only a loss to their families and friends but also to the national flag carrier”.

    He also announced half a million rupees each for the PIA employees who got injured in the incident.

    The prime minister also announced one job each in the PIA for the family members of both the deceased employees — according to their qualifications.

    “The government will pursue the investigations to find out those responsible for the murder of PIA employees,” he assured.

    Moreover, the families would also be kept informed on regular basis about the progress made in the investigations, he added.

    Two protesters had died after sustaining bullet wounds after security personnel resorted to baton-charging and using rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas shells in a bid to disperse protesting PIA employees at Jinnah Terminal February 3.

    The member of PIA's engineering department Inayat Raza, who sustained a bullet wound in his chest during the protest, succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital.

    Another official Saleem had also died after sustaining bullet wounds.

    Deputy Inspector General East Kamran Fazal said bullet casings were collected to ascertain who opened fire on the protesters. He claimed the bullets were not fired by policemen.

    "We instructed our personnel not to handle the protesters violently. We are trying to find out who initiated the clash," he said.

    "No Rangers personnel has fired to control the protest at Jinnah Terminal," Rangers Public Relations Officer had said in an official statement.

  12. #32
    Member NazamKhan's Avatar
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    Re: Police/Rangers Clash With Protesting PIA Employees

    PIA’s scoreboard

    VARIOUS suggestions are being made to make PIA operations viable including even banning other airlines from operating out of Pakistan with no consideration of its consequences.

    This calls for going through PIA’s annual financial statements and to compare the same with a few competitors. The financial statements 2014 were picked up as only one player out of the peer group had published its 2015 performance report/balance sheet.

    The good news is that PIA reduced its losses to Rs30.7bn as compared to Rs45bn last year, which can be largely attributed to lower fuel costs and foreign exchange rate gain. The idea is to understand PIA’s numbers in comparison to its peers as the following table tries to do.

    -------------------------Table-------------------------

    These numbers show that PIA is not the only airline that is losing money in this group as the airline industry is an exceptionally competitive business. However, it is quite clear that PIA has the highest employee per aircraft and is overstaffed and has been a victim of political hiring.

    PIA has an inefficient fleet of aircraft or it has a faulty process to procure fuel. This is a major issue and no business can remain sustainable if it has major operational inefficiencies
    In a similar vein, PIA has higher employee costs as a percentage of its revenue as compared to Emirates and Turkish airlines. This becomes more worrisome as all the airlines concerned belong to countries that have higher per capita income than Pakistan.

    PIA requires more employees to run each aircraft and spends more on employees to earn each unit of revenue even though it should have a competitive advantage in terms of labour costs.


    Similarly, PIA has a higher fuel cost as a percentage of its revenue as compared to the peer group. It may be argued that the airline from the Middle East might have a competitive advantage over PIA in terms of fuel costs. This clearly shows that PIA either has inefficient aircraft or it has a faulty process to procure fuel. This is a major issue and no business can remain sustainable if it has major operational inefficiencies.

    It takes 13pc more out of its revenues to run its aircraft than Turkish airlines, which clearly makes it uncompetitive. Bringing these costs down can really turn around the direction of the organisation. This problem was more acute in 2013 when fuel costs accounted for 58pc of the revenue and this might again happen if the oil prices bounce back.

    Comparing the financial charges of these airlines, PIA is clearly at a disadvantage because of its financial history and its current state of affairs. It not only spends far more on financial charges as compared to its revenues but digging deeper one realises that the spread that PIA is paying on its debt is also substantially higher than its peers. This raises the issue that PIA needs a large scale financial restructuring so that its debt can be brought down to a sustainable level.

    Looking at these numbers, there is no doubt that PIA requires a major overhaul as no country can afford to give handouts amounting to $450m, especially one which needs heavy external and domestic borrowings to manage its fiscal and balance of payments deficits.

    We can only hope that the government will try to make PIA a self-sustaining service organisation by taking the right measures.

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