Plight of PIA pen­sion­ers

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - BASHIR AHMED

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

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