Plight of PIA pensioners
I would like to draw the government’s attention towards an injustice the retired employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have been made to face for a long time as there is only single increase in their pensions during the past seven years i.e. since 2009. The national airline gives its employees 32 percent of their total salary as pension but the formula (which was adopted in 2003) it applies in the end, makes the pension calculated on their basic pays. This is not fair. The PIA, till the end of 2003, used to give their retired employees 50% of their salaries as pensions. The management should revert to that practice.
The retired employees have been demanding since long that the airline should either give them 50 percent pension on the basic pay or make the 32 percent pension to be given on their total salaries without the said formula. Similarly, the payment of commuted amount and Matured Group Insurance should be given to retired employees at the time of their retirement. As per current practices the group insurance amount is paid to the family of an employee upon his death during his service up to the age of 60 years. This was extended after retirement but restricted up to the age of 65 years.
This means if the employee wants their own amount back, they should either die or heirs should arrange their death before 65 years of age. This is ridiculous. The management should pay the group insurance to the employees at the time of their retirement or upon their death at any age, whichever is earlier. Another issue is of commuted pension. It must be refunded to a retired employee after attaining the age of 70 years or to his heirs as is in practice in all government departments because it is part of pensionable amount mortgaged/sold to the employer by the employee for a period of 10 years. This money should never be snatched from the retired employees or from their heirs because it is like a deposit with the employer for an agreed/stipulated period.
Also, the management should increase the pension of retired employees as per its circular number 21/2003 dated July 31, 2003. It is mentioned in this circular that ‘in future revision/ suitable increase in pension shall be linked with salary revision of serving employees’. The ground reality is that almost every year there is plausible increase in pensions of Federal and Provincial government employees at the time of budgets, but this doesn’t happen at PIA. I request the Finance Minister and Chairman PIA to look into this issue and provide relief to retired employees of the national airline. —Via email