In this turbulent economic landscape, where the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is battling substantial losses, it has taken an unusual step that has raised eyebrows and ignited controversy. The PIA management has decided to award bonuses to its employees, commencing from October 1, 2023. The rationale behind this decision is rooted in the recognition of their outstanding performance from April to September 2023. This article will delve into the specifics of this remarkable development and its implications.
A Glimpse into the Financial Turmoil
Before delving deeper into the decision to grant bonuses to PIA employees, it’s crucial to understand the financial crisis that plagues the national airline. PIA has been grappling with a staggering monthly loss of Rs. 12 billion, and the cumulative loss has now breached the Rs. 740 billion mark. This dire financial situation is a cause for concern and has led to questions about the sustainability of the airline’s operations.
The Bonus Calculation
The bonus awarded to PIA employees is calculated based on the 2022 bonus payment, and it ranges from five to ten percent of their salaries as of March 31, 2023. This move aims to acknowledge the dedicated efforts of the airline’s workforce during a challenging period. However, there are certain eligibility criteria that employees must meet to qualify for this bonus.
Not all employees will be recipients of this bonus. Those excluded from this benefit include:
1. Employees Given Notice to Leave
Employees who have been served notice to leave the company before October 2023 will not be eligible for the bonus.
2. Recent Recruits
Employees who were recently hired during the specified period are not entitled to the bonus.
3. Those Promoted or Receiving a Salary Increase
Employees who were promoted or received a salary increase between April 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023, are excluded from the bonus scheme.
4. Individuals Facing Disciplinary Actions
Employees who are currently facing disciplinary actions are also not eligible for the bonus.
Controversy and Criticism
The decision to grant bonuses to PIA employees, given the company’s financial predicament, has sparked significant controversy. PIA has been grappling with operational challenges, including frequent fuel outages, which have only added to the financial strain. The airline’s monthly income stands at Rs. 22 billion, while its expenses reach a staggering Rs. 34 billion, contributing to the airline’s accumulated losses, which now exceed Rs. 740 billion.
The financial woes of PIA are multifaceted. The airline has borrowed a substantial Rs. 260 billion from commercial banks under government guarantees, creating a massive debt burden. Furthermore, PIA owes a substantial Rs. 1.25 billion in taxes to the Federal Board of Revenue. Additionally, the airline struggles to meet over Rs. 1 billion in monthly payments to the Civil Aviation.
In light of these financial challenges, the decision to allocate bonuses to employees has faced sharp criticism, with even the finance ministry expressing concerns. Sources within the finance ministry have pointed out the glaring financial crisis that PIA is currently grappling with and have questioned the appropriateness of granting bonuses in such circumstances.
Caretaker Federal Minister for Privatization, Fawad Hasan, disclosed a shocking statistic that further adds to the controversy. Out of PIA’s 34 aircraft, 15 are grounded, leaving the airline with only 19 operational aircraft. This situation raises serious concerns about the airline’s ability to continue its operations seamlessly.
The decision by PIA’s management to award bonuses to employees amid a backdrop of staggering losses and financial instability has garnered significant attention. While it aims to recognize and appreciate the dedicated workforce, it has drawn criticism and raised concerns about the airline’s financial management. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how this decision will impact the future of Pakistan International Airlines and its employees.