Karachi: President Pakistan International Airlines’ Retired Employees Association (Piarea) Syed Tahir Hassan has demanded that the payment of commuted amount and Matured Group Insurance should be given to the retired employees at the time of their retirement.
He said the PIA management should immediately resolve the issues of its retired employees that include refund on commuted pension amount, increase of pension in the light of PIA Circular number 21/2003 dated 21 July 2003, and issuance of emergency tickets on domestic routes.
In PIA, he adds, 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 that if the employees want their own amount back, they should either die or heirs should arrange their death before 65 years of age,’ added Tahir.
This is not just, he adds, therefore, Piarea strongly demands that the payment of group insurance be paid at the time of retirement or upon death at any age.
‘Similarly, the commuted pension must be refunded to a retired employee after attaining the age of 70/75 years or to his heirs as 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 to 15 years,’ demanded Tahir.
He further said that this amount 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. ‘The ground reality is that almost every year there is plausible increase in the pensions of federal and provincial government employees at the time of budgets. This is why pension of the retired employees of PIA should also be increased because their pension is already very low as compare to other government departments,’ he reasoned.
A circular, number 21/2003 dated July 21, 2003, was issued by PIA that stated ‘In future, revision/suitable increase in pension shall be linked with salary revision of serving employees.’ But since 2004 only twice the pension was increased (including recent increase effective April 1, 2013), which is not just considering how retired employees have to live with day by day increase in inflation, he added.
President Piarea said that in the recent budget the government has announced that minimum pension will be Rs 5000 a month. ‘We therefore have every reason to demand that PIA’s own circular 21/2003 be implemented in to-to with retrospective effect and the minimum pension of Rs 5000 per month be please fixed in all departments,’ added Tahir.
Tahir said that it will not be out of place to mention that all these actions will have no burden of a single pie on the national airline as there are billions of rupees lying in the ‘pension fund trust’ as the amount of PIA’s retired employees, while the payment of group insurance is the responsibility of insurance company.
It is to be noted that currently the national airline gives its employees 32 percent of their total salary as pension but the formula it applies in the end makes the pension calculated on their basic pays. ‘So 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,’ demanded President Piarea.