KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) unions on Monday announced all offices of the national carrier will remain closed from tomorrow (Tuesday) till February 2 in protest against the planned privatisation of the airline.
The employee unions also threatened to halt flight operations from February 2 if the government does not give in to their demands, foremost amongst which is scrapping of the plan to privatise the national airline.
Captain Sohail Baloch, convener of the PIA employees committee, told reporters that a four-point agenda had been presented to the government by the body. Failure on part of the government to fulfil these demands, he said, will result in suspension of flight operations.
Their demands include:
Government shall immediately take back the bill passed on January 21 converting the national flag carrier into a public limited company.
PIA's employees be provided a chance to reform the airline. If the employees fail to do so, the government will have the freedom to do whatever it finds suitable.
Privatisation, in any form, whether it is in form of a strategic
partner or selling of 36 per cent or 1 per cent of the organisation's shares, is not acceptable to the employees.
Government shall immediately review the aviation policy and form a
committee for this purpose comprising members from PIA employees' JAC along with PIA experts Khursheed Anwar, Kamran Hasan and Salahuddin.
On the other hand, the PIA management has requested union leaders to not close down offices as it may cause inconvenience to passengers across the country, a spokesman for the national carrier said in a statement.
He said the airline's management had requested all employees to join hands and support the management in the revival of the national flag carrier.
The National Assembly on January 21 witnessed the passage of six bills, including one to convert the national flag carrier into a public limited company.
Under the bill, Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC) will be converted into a public limited company as Pakistan International Airlines Company Limited (PIACL).
PIACL will get all the assets, liabilities, duties and obligations of PIAC. Similarly, PIACL would be entitled to the benefit of all notifications, licences, permissions, sanctions, authorisations, concessions, decrees, international air service authorisations, agreements, orders and benefits issued or granted in favour of PIAC.
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