LAHORE – PIA workers will strike again tomorrow as union leaders escalate their protests against government plans to privatise the national carrier.

Protest against privatization is gaining momentum in the country and government is in hot waters as to how to deal with protesting workers. Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met PIA union leaders couple of days back but failed to convince them to end their strike.

Today during three hours protest not only officers joined hands with workers but pilots also joined the strike due to which a PIA flight Pk-302 operating between Karachi-Lahore was also slightly delayed. Pilots will discharge their duties in line with ‘go by book’, a union leader said.

Secretary General of Air League of PIA Employees Mehmood Bokhari said government was trying to privatise about 68 state owned entities and privatization of PIA, LESCO and Pakistan Steel Mills were its top priority. “With the implementation of this decision thousands of workers will become jobless. Workers from other departments being privatized were also joining hands with PIA to launch a joint movement. But JACPIA has taken no decision in this regard. PIA workers after 11:30 ended their protest and went to their job accordingly. President Peoples Unity and Executive member of JACCPIA, Sajid Gujjar said, “It is good omen that airlines senior officers have joined us and they were also out side their offices during strike hours”.

When contacted president of Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), Amir Hashmi said, “We support the stance of JACPIA over privatization but will not refuse to fly until and unless JACPIA demands so”

It merits mentioning here that when pilots will refuse to perform duty, the flight operation of PIA will be suspended and airline will have to suffer big loss.

Lahore Electricity Supply Company (LESCO) workers today also staged a protest demonstration out side LESCO head office against the proposed privatization of electricity distribution companies. Charged workers were chanting slogans against government and LESCO management and in favour of their demands.