PIA Strike Ends, Angry Passengers Create Ruckus at Airport

Islamabad, Nov 3 (PTI) Agitating engineers of state-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) today ended a strike that paralysed airports across the country and left thousands of people stranded at airports.

Mansoor Zafir, joint secretary of the Society of Aircraft Engineers of Pakistan, said the workers, who were pressing for a salary hike, would rejoin work but would not perform any extra duties or work on weekends.

"We are resuming work in the interest of customers and the national carrier," he told reporters.

Almost all flights of PIA were either cancelled or delayed when the engineers went on a mass "sick leave" yesterday, leaving thousands of people stranded in airports in the capital and other cities like Lahore, Karachi and Quetta.

Angry passengers protested at Islamabad international airport by occupying its announcement box and breaking its windows. They also besieged the offices of station mangers and airport security officials and demanded that they be put up in hotels at PIA's expense.

Many people complained that they had not been informed by the airline about the cancellation or delay of flights.

Zafir said the engineers rejoined work though they were not satisfied with the steps taken by PIA to address their demands. "They offered something that was not at all acceptable. Ninety pre cent of our demands are related to the work environment and 10 per cent relates to financial issues," he said.

The engineers had been protesting for five days before they began their strike yesterday.

PIA General Manager Nasir Jamal said following the decision by the engineers to call off their strike, the management would hold negotiations with them to "amicably settle all matters across the table".


03-11 2007