Strike at PIA grounds all flights

Singapore
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A strike by workers at Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has forced the flag carrier to cancel all its flights yesterday and today.

The carrier has cancelled more than 250 flights since industrial action started on 8 February, and scrapped all domestic and international departures yesterday and today, says PIA's spokesman.

"Today is the second day of a complete shutdown, and there are no take-offs," he adds.

The airline employs 18,000 people around the world, including 600 pilots, says the spokesman. "Not everyone is in favour of the strike, but demonstrators at airports have prevented the other staff from coming to work," he adds.

The workers are protesting against a proposed codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines, which they feel will result in PIA losing profitable routes.

They are also demanding for the resignation of PIA's managing director Aijaz Haroon and the reinstatement of six pilots who lost their jobs, says the spokesman.

The airline is negotiating with its workers through two committees set up by the Pakistani government, he adds. A meeting between the two sides is scheduled to take place later today.

"We are hopeful that the meeting will help resolve the issue. The level of intensity of the strike is getting out of hand," says the spokesman.