ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has unveiled its detailed restructuring plan under which the national flag carrier will complete the process of shifting its headquarters to Islamabad by June 2021 while reducing the number of its employees by almost half.
According to the plan, 7,500 of the 14,500 PIA employees will be laid off as per the voluntary separation scheme (VSS). Three thousand and five-hundred employees will be laid off under the VSS in the ongoing month. This will help the company save Rs10.5 billion annually.
The number of employees for each aircraft will be reduced from 500 to 250.Currently, the human resources cost the PIA Rs2.6 billion monthly and Rs24.8 billion annually.
The head offices of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), including the flight services division, commercial department and human resource divisions, will be shifted from Karachi to Islamabad by the end of January as part of the restructuring plan of the national flag carrier.
The airline’s other operations, including flights scheduling and medical division, corporate development department, works division and supply chain management will be shifted to the federal capital by the end of February, internal audit, corporate secretariat and finance departments by the end of March and engineering department by the end of June 2021.
The PIA management is also considering introducing “Sehat Card” for the employees by discontinuing the present model of medical facility which, it believes, is a huge financial burden on the airline.
The air tickets scheme (passage facility) is being rationalised to extend the same facility to all cadres of employees. The number of tickets authorised to the employees is being reduced as these contribute to indirect expenses in terms of fuel cost.
According to the restructuring plan, if the separation of the required number of 3,500 employees was not met through the VSS, then the MSS will be launched soon after the former. All departments/categories of PIA employees will be rationalised to achieve the required number of 3,500 employees.
According to plan, the excess employees will be mandatorily retired based on performance, discipline and value addition. The mandatorily retired employees will not be offered VSS financial packages as well as medical/passage facilities post retirement.
PIA Officers Association general secretary Safdar Anjum alleged that the airline management had leaked the restructuring plan with an intention to create panic and fear among the employees so that they avail the VSS. “Since the VSS scheme had been introduced, only 650 employees have applied so far,” he tweeted.
According to the plan, the dismissal of employees facing departmental inquiry for rule violations or poor performance will be completed in January 2021.
Under the VSS, employees will get hefty financial benefits. The employees facing forced retirements, however, will not be able to avail the VSS and will get a different package.
The non-core departments will be separated from the core departments by March 2021.
After forced retirements, the flight kitchen, technical ground services (TGS) and engineering base maintenance will operate under a mutual agreement signed with private companies.
The precision engineering department will be handed over to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and its employees will no longer remain a part of the PIA.
The PIA’s courier service SpeedEx has already been closed and its 40,000 employees will be laid off.
As per the corporate restructuring plan, the commercial, human resource, legal and flight service departments will be shifted to Islamabad till January 2021.
The flight operation scheduling, medical, corporate development, works, and supply chain management will also be shifted by the end of February 2021 while the internal audit, corporate secretariat, and finance department will be shifted to Islamabad in March.
The engineering department will be completely shifted to Islamabad in June 2021 in the last phase.
According to the document, the mode of payment for OCS and TADA will also be changed under the cost-saving plan. The PIA employees will be linked to the government-issued health cards.
The employees will be able to get treatment at government hospitals as well as panel hospitals according to their salaries. The air tickets issued to the PIA employees will be reduced in number while their charges will also be adjusted as per the fuel prices.