Airhostess alleges harassment; PIA denies

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LAHORE: Some employees of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), including airhostesses, have alleged that the management is harassing them to return to work. The management, however, has categorically denied the allegation.

The employees held a demonstration outside the Lahore airport and protested against the management’s “harassment” and the government’s plan to privatise the national flag carrier. They said the government was trying to create disharmony among employees to stop the strike, but they said it would not succeed.

Talking to reporters, airhostess Sitwat Salim claimed she and her colleagues received threatening calls from management officials.

“They told us to return otherwise we will be sacked,” she said and alleged that even police raided houses of some employees. She further claimed phone calls of the protesters were being tapped.

Requesting anonymity, another airhostess told Dawn she had returned to work after the human resource department told her to resume duty or she would be sent a show-cause notice.

“I went to the airport where the concerned official told me that show-cause notices will be issued to all those refusing to resume their duty. And this means end of their job with the PIA. I do not want to lose my job so I decided to surrender to the management’s will,” she added.

The PIA management has a different story altogether in response to the allegations.

“In fact, the protesting employees are harassing those resuming duty and we have arranged security for them,” PIA spokesman Daniyal Gilani told Dawn.

He claimed the employees had concocted a story to “cover up” their own harassment of their colleagues.

“Police escort is given to the employees from their residence to the office,” he added.

Meanwhile, the main office of PIA on Edgerton Road reopened on Monday six days after the employees went on strike against the privatisation.