Editorial - No-fly zone Thursday, February 10, 2011

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=30440&Cat=8&dt=2/10/2011

The ramshackle state of industrial relations is once more exposed by the ongoing strike by PIA pilots protesting the sacking of eight of their number and the recent deal with Turkish Airlines whereby TA will take over some loss-making routes. By midday on Wednesday, there was chaos at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi airports. Over a thousand were stranded in Islamabad with 12 international flights cancelled and the striking pilots threatening to march on Parliament House. There seems little chance of an early resolution as both sides have taken entrenched positions. The pilots maintain that things would not have come to this had the management discussed the matter with them when it first surfaced six weeks ago. The management, for its part, is adamant that it has every right to sack poor-performing staff and to do whatever it can to reverse the fortune of an airline in decline. Airport managers seem helpless in the face of angry passengers. Paramilitary forces have been deployed to keep order as chaos reigns supreme.

There is a depressing familiarity about all this that points to some deep-rooted deficiencies in the management of most, if not all, of our state entities and services. This is a time of sea-change in the way that our state enterprises are managed. Much of this change has been imposed by external forces such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but the endemic crippling problems of PIA are the product of long-term mismanagement and incompetence; coupled with political interference. When rigour rather than profligacy is brought to bear, then the workforce and unions react to protect their position. This is their right, but it is not only the right but the binding duty of the managers of PIA to drag it out of the mire. The inevitable tension between those who seek change and a workforce desperate to preserve the status quo, is always going to lead to conflict unless, our professional managers learn to negotiate rather than start from a position of confrontation. For their part, unions and staff associations need to understand that nothing is forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment