PIA Elections 2008.

17th Oct, 2008, a much anticipated day! CBA elections were held in PIA. Two parties compete for power – “Progressive”, a mainly People’s Party influenced group, and “Friends”, a Jamat e Islami group. Many months prior to the big day, I saw the active campaigns of both the parties. My boss is an active member of Friends and his group was busy convincing voters day in and day out. Stickers, pamphlets, banners, slogans, meetings, speeches, High-tea, Iftar party, Eid cards, etc, were widespread in PIA premises.

Once or twice I escorted the Lady’s Representative for Friends on her voter convincing rounds. It was all fun to observe and even to participate. Unionism is a healthy part of every national institution around the world. Pakistan International Airlines is not the only national airliner where Unions are active, Lufthansa in Germany and British Airways in Britain are two other examples with active Unions. In fact, Unions are the basis of Entire Labour Law.

One day prior to the elections all the leaders of Friends were hunkered down at CAA parking lot just outside PIA Building, making speeches and plans for the next day. They discussed problems faced by Senior Officers and females at PIA, how management’s strategies can be amended and corrected, how much and why employee salary should be increased, what measures could be taken to improve free ticket, medical and leave facility, etc.

I found these speeches very enlightening and I learned what other fellow employees are going through or I could encounter at a later stage. It helped me come out of my cocoon and enter the world at large.

On the day of the election, I sat for a while at their Booth A and observed the voting proceedings. It was all so interesting and good to be a part of. The supporters of Progressive were playing slogans in loudspeakers, dancing and chanting, “Zinda Hai Bhutto, Zinda Hai” (Long Live Bhutto!)!

My fellow MBA’s at PIA might frown upon my active participation in PIA’s elections but I must admit one can’t stay secluded from what goes around at company level. Everybody was so charged and enthusiastic, the energy and excitement can’t possibly be avoided.

Progressive won with a massive lead while Friends supporters carried forth the happy memories till the next election in two years time.


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