On Wednesday, a number of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) employees were protesting in front of Lahore Press Club, with pictures of two former PIA employees who allegedly died from a heart attack as a result of undertaking a lot of stress because they were not being paid their dues and were let off by PIA via their Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS). They also called upon the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take notice of their plight and help them get justice.
The PIA VSS committee issued a press released yesterday which stated that the unfortunate death of the two former employees of PIA, Saleem Maseeh and Rab Nawaz, was a result of their discontinued medical facility which came under effect from December 31, 2020.
Around 2000 PIA employees opted for the VSS facility, and the employees were assured by the PIA management that they will be clear all their dues as well as their retirement dues. However, the management has yet to fulfill its promise.
A meeting was held by the PIA VSS committee in Karachi, where they assured the employees that they will let the higher authorities of PIA know about their plight and demands. The committee also said that if the management does not fulfill the employees’ demands, it will hold countrywide protests from the coming week.
Moreover, Safdar Anjum, the general secretary of the PIA Senior Staff Association, sent a letter to Air Marshal Arshad Malik, PIA’s chief executive officer, and requested him to take a loan from commercial or government banks and pay the dues of the employees.
He further went on to state that another option is to pay their VSS employees as per their last drawn pay and to also resume their medical facility to take off some of the burdens from their shoulders. “This amount should be deducted from their dues at the time of clearance,” he added.
Furthermore, the PIA management, not the other hand, has stated that they have requested the finance ministry to provide the airline some funding so they can pay for the Voluntary Separation Scheme.
PIA further apprised that the finance ministry has accepted that the funds are a “cash support” for PIA to pay their VSS employees, and they have also been approved by the Economic Coordination Committee and the federal cabinet. However, the fund transfer could take time as the finance ministry has put the fund’s transfer under the “subject to fulfillment of all procedural and codal formalities” category.