Deadlock Continues

PIA strike

Finally, a reasonable step has been taken by the government to resolve the conflict arising out of Privatization move of PIA. The government wanted to sell the flagship Airline to its cronies & associates. A glimmer of hope has arisen in the impasse over the employees strike.

The PIA workers strike has continued into the fourth day, causing a complete shutdown of the flights operation. None of the overseas flights took off. More than 500 flights have been canceled during this period. The passengers were lying in wait for their flights to take off, but to no avail.

A meeting was held late in the night between Chairman Privatization Commission Muhammad Zubair and Joint Action Committee Chairman Sohail Bloch, but the talks did not prove to be meaningful. The deadlock continues due to a severe lack of trust on both the sides. The stance of the chairman Pvt Com. was to end the strike & restore the flight operation only then negotiations with regard to demands of the employees will be held. Whereas the Committee Chairman stand was that till reaching some conclusive result, it was not possible. The operation will remain suspended.

All the 38 planes of the National Airline remained grounded. Nobody is taking care of the passengers. The Action Committee will not back off its stand. Though, the parties have agreed to continue the talks on Saturday too. The State Minister told the Press that we have heard the reservations of the employees with keen interest. We have just met them. But no negotiations as yet. The government wants immediate restoration of flight operations. After that real talks will be held. We seriously want to resolve this matter.

Joint Action Committee Chairman Sohail Baloch talking to the press said we have heard the government’s narrative, we will discuss this it among us and then talks will be held. We hope we will arrive at some result.

I do not think that the Joint Action Committee can concede to the government’s precondition. It would be too risky to do so. The government has to show a willingness to resolve seriously the issues before the resumption of flight operations. There is a too big deficit of trust between the parties. The gap has to be bridged before the dialogue.

The government is incurring extra cost on Parking of the fleet, due to the grounding of the 38 planes. It will have to pay millions of Rupees to CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). The domestic Airline companies have refused to accommodate PIA passengers.

Meanwhile, Sohail Baloch announced that Saturday will be observed as Black day throughout the country. PIA employees along with their families will stage protests outside all the Press Clubs all across the country. This will further pressurize the government. Mr. Zubair blamed previous governments for creating the mess. I think he does not understand the gravity of the situation. He should be replaced with some other minister to hold talks with the strikers.

He is not the right choice to resolve the conflict. He does not have the expertise to resolve the conflict.

The government should get some expert in conflict resolution to deal with the present situation. I hope some way will be found to come out of this ever-deepening the crisis.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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