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PIA pensioners’ woes

April 02, 2014

I WOULD like to draw the government’s attention to the injustice PIA’s retired employees have been made to face for a long time.

The national airline gives its employees 32pc of their total salary as pension but the formula (which was adopted in 2003) it applies in the end makes the pension calculated on their basic pays. This is not fair. According to rules, all other government organisations give their retired employees 50pc of their salaries as pensions. This was also in practice at PIA till the end of 2003.

Now, the management should revert to the practice.

The retired employees have been demanding that the airline should either give them 50pc pension on the basic pay or make the 32pc pension to be given on their total salaries without the said formula.

Similarly, the payment of commuted amount and Matured Group Insurance should be given to retired employees at the time of their retirement. According to current practices, the group insurance amount is paid to the family of an employee on his death during his service up to the age of 60 years. This was extended after retirement but restricted up to the age of 65 years.

This means if the employee wants his own amount back, he should either die or heirs should arrange their death before 65 years of age.

This is ridiculous. The management should pay the group insurance to the employees at the time of their retirement or upon their death at any age.

Another issue is of commuted pension. It must be refunded to a retired employee after he attains the age of 70/75 years or to his heirs as in practice in all government departments because it is a part of pensionable amount mortgaged/sold to the employer by the employee for a period of 10 to 15 years.

The money should never be taken away from retired employees or from their heirs because it is like a deposit with the employer for an agreed/stipulated period.

Also, the management should increase the pension of retired employees according to its circular No. 21/2003 dated July 21, 2003. The ground reality is that almost every year there is a plausible increase in the pensions of federal and provincial government employees at the time of budgets. But it doesn’t happen in PIA.

Basher Ahmed

Ex-General Manager

Public Relations, PIA

Karachi