ISLAMABAD: Talks between the national flag carrier and its’ association of pilots (PALPA) appeared to have hit a snag on Friday with the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) chairman absent from a Senate Standing committee session called to broker a truce between the two parties.
Committee chairman Talha Mahmood and members of the committee protested over PIA chairman Nasir Jaffar’s absence from the session today.
Committee chairman Talha Mahmood and members of the committee protested over the absence of PIA chairman Nasir Jaffar, who was expected to sign a document of understanding with PALPA officials during the session today.
On Wednesday, the protesting pilots had temporarily called off a six-day-long ‘go slow’ that cancelled almost 90 flights and cost the national carrier millions of rupees, following an assurance from the Senate standing committee that their demands will be negotiated.
PALPA president Amir Hashmi said they had called off the protest until Friday (October 9) 2pm on the assurance of members of the Senate’s standing committee and its chairman Senator Talha Mahmood,
PIA and PALPA officials were to hold talks for two days to resolve all issues and report the outcome of the negotiations to the standing committee today.
Almost 90 flights scheduled by the Pakistani flag carrier were cancelled and over 5,000 passengers affected since last week when the pilots refused to work following a dispute over conditions.
The row started after the Civil Aviation Authority suspended the licences of two pilots for one and two years respectively for “unlawfully operating flight without permission”.
PIA claimed that the pilots’ association was blackmailing the management to agree to unjust promotions and unjustified benefits for executives.
PALPA, on the other hand, denied that they were observing a strike, but they were not taking on extra work and this is why the flights were cancelled.
PALPA vice president Sadiq Rehman claimed that the PIA management was asking “one man to do the job of two, and get the salary of one and a half men.”
All parties, including the CAA, PIA and PALPA officials were expected to meet again today during the Senate Standing Committee session for a final resolution to the dispute.
The state-owned PIA has a fleet of 41 aircraft which include Boeing 777, Airbus A320 and ATR, and 436 active pilots.