KARACHI/LAHORE - The three months of negotiations and hectic efforts finally rendered sterile as the MOU signed between the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (Palpa) and Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has almost fallen apart. The negotiations on the working agreement and salary raise have come to a grinding halt, sources told The Nation.
According to sources, the management has taken a smart move by allocating 70 hours of flying to the pilots. By doing this very act, PIA has taken the advantage of saving that otherwise should be paid to pilots. PALPA had previously recommended PIA MD Capt Ejaz Haroon to increase the salary by 19.5 %, as the salary for PIA employees have been raised by 20 %. In reply to this recommendation MD PIA said that 6 % increment is already given to PALPA as 70 hours of flying, so MD PIA and PALPA both agreed upon 13 % increment, he added.
In this 13 % raise, non slip allowance is also added that makes 4 % of the total 13 % amount. We bear this 4 % cut but management did not take our efforts seriously, said the source.
The MD further asked that if PALPA agrees for 13 % increment no hike in salary should be expected next year. PALPA agreed on this suggestion, and then MoU was signed. The amount was given to Director Flight Operation from where it is handed over to PALPA to be distributed among its members. Interestingly, PALPA was asked to give share to the contracted pilots as well, who are not the members of PALPA. PALPA agreed one the condition that these contracted pilots should be permanent, but the management declined the offer, said the source.
He said that our demand to make the contracted pilots permanent was in good gesture as PIA is not will to give permanent places to them despite 3 years working on contract. He asked if every contracted employee gets permanent than why not the pilots. PALPA has 419 members, while total pilots in the Airline are 506.
Palpa Vice President Capt Suhail Baluch, while describing the situation, said that the situation stalled due to the stubborn attitude of the PIA MD who included such clauses in the MoU that are clearly against the passenger safety and working conditions Palpa is struggling.
He elaborated that in the MOU clause 3 (b) has been wilfully stated by the management that PALPA has expressly agreed on certain concessions in respect of 25 flights per week and it shall not be withdrawn in any circumstances whatsoever, this according to Capt Baluch is a clear violation of the understanding they have reached with the MD.
Further more, the same clause also mentions that In case of withdrawal from any concession, PALPA shall provide an alternate flight outside the ambit of Admin Order 21/2009 dated May 13, 2009 to compensate such a flight or shall be liable for any losses thus incurred.
Capt Baluch said that the Palpa has therefore called its Executive Committee meeting to decide the future action plan.
On the other hand, a PIA official said that the negotiations are underway with the Palpa. About 13 per cent increase in salaries and its distribution, he said that the Palpa must understand that 13 per cent increase in salaries amounting to Rs226 million is for the all categories of pilots working in the airline.
To a question about regularisation of contract pilots, the PIA official said that the nature of pilots job is sensitive so they have always been given permanent status on performance and satisfactory completion of their contract period. He further mentioned that the MoU is the basic agreement following which the working pact is signed between the Palpa and PIA.