The Islamabad High Court (IHC) announced the decision on a petition filed by 21 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilots over salary deduction amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the details, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah gave his verdict over the salary deduction case saying that airlines all over the world slashed salaries of their employees due to the pandemic situation hence, we can not force the PIA management in this matter.
On September 4, 2020, IHC served notices on Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and PIA in a petition against the deduction in salaries of pilots working with national airlines.
The case was heard by Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah whereas, Syed Ahmad Hassan, counsel for the pilots, appeared in the court. The court while rejecting the pilots’ plea regarding immediate stay order remarked how can this court see if PIA will run or otherwise.
The court directed CAA and PIA should file a reply within 2 weeks.
CJ IHC remarked that the court couldn’t interfere in the financial matters of any department. “How could we judge the future of national airlines?” Not only the pilots but the people of Pakistan are also the stake-holders of PIA.
The court remarked during the course of hearing that the institution may not have money due to which deductions have been made in the salary. The defence counsel told the court if the institution has no money then we should be laid off from the institution.
It is to be remembered that PIA, like its global peers, faced severe crisis due to the economic difficulty caused by the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic had an enormous impact on the aviation industry, affecting passenger traffic, air cargo demand, airport workforce and incoming revenues.
In order to cope with the pandemic that devastated air travel demand, PIA management, on June 10, 2020, took some difficult decisions in order to protect maximum number of jobs and to keep the company afloat. Therefore, the PIA management decided that higher cadres of the national airline temporarily had to bear while the lower pay scale and daily wage employees were left to survive within the meager salaries.
In this regard, the employees with salaries ranging from PKR 500,001 onwards had to bear a 25% deduction. As a result, 21 PIA pilots including Captain Qasim Qadir, spokesperson of Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) filed a petition against PIA and CAA in the Islamabad High Court.
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