Biman Enforces 48h Deadline on Pilots
Thursday, 28 October 2010

The authorities of the national carrier have issued a notice to pilots warning them of stern action if they do not join work by 11am on Saturday.

"The notice declaring the 48-hour deadline was issued to Biman's flight operation director, president and general secretary of Bangladesh Airlines Pilots Association (BAPA) at 11am on Thursday," the airline's managing director, Zakiul Islam, told bdnews24.com.

It was forwarded to related officials by the flight operations director.

The notice is effective from the time of its issue, he added.

On Wednesday, Biman authorities threatened strict actions against its protesting pilots if they do not join work by Saturday morning.

The decision was taken in an emergency meeting of its board of directors on Wednesday evening, Biman Bangladesh Airlines' chairman Jamaluddin Ahmed told bdnews24.com.

"The notice will be served at 11am on Thursday morning. Severe actions will be taken against those who do not join work within the next 48 hours," the Biman boss said.

He, however, did not elaborate on what Biman meant by 'strict.'

BAPA acting president Zakir Hussain said, "We will decide on the next course of action in an association meeting once we receive that order."

The pilots are likely to sit for another meeting on Thursday to decide on their next course of action.

At Wednesday's press briefing, which was held in open air, Hussain criticised the attitude of the Biman authorities for putting the association's office under lock and key. "There have no right on such obstructions on the activities of the association, which is a licensed trade union," he said.

The association office is located inside the Biman administration building. Airport security allegedly misbehaved with pilots when they tried to enter the association office and barred them from entry. The guards apparently told the pilots that only those on duty would be allowed entry.

At least five flights have been rescheduled and one has been cancelled since the pilots went on strike on Tuesday night.

With all but seven of its pilots on strike, the flag carrier has pressed its officials into flying its planes.

Biman officials, with previous flight experience, have been reassigned to keep the flights running.

A Biman order on Oct 26, temporarily suspended four pilots, including BAPA's acting president Zakir Hussain and general secretary M A Basit Mahtab from operating flights.

Another BAPA member, also a former association president, S M Helal was issued a show cause letter in the same order of the Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

Immediately after the order was issued, the pilots' association decided not to join work. The sudden strike has disrupted Biman's flight schedule.

Source: bdnews24.com

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