Johannesburg - Trade union Solidarity fears for the safety of its members working at SAA Technical (SAAT), spokesman Marius Croukamp said on Friday.
“Solidarity fears strikes at SAA Technical could get violent, after Satawu members set tyres alight during demonstrations at SAAT's premises in Kempton Park,” he said.
“(Our) members had been sent home earlier this morning, for fear of their safety. .. 1/8we were 3/8 later informed they could return to work.”
Solidarity said it represented several senior aviation technicians at SAAT's maintenance division, which was mainly responsible for servicing aeroplanes and ensuring they were safe and ready for flight.
“Evacuating (our) members from the workplace for safety reasons could disrupt the company's operations further. 1/8We 3/8 will not hesitate to withdraw (our) members from the workplace again, should any form of violence or intimidation occur.”
The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said at no stage were the lives of Solidarity members under threat.
“Their fears are unfounded, there has always been police during pickets, during demonstrations, I don't understand why they would have such fears,” Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu said.
On Thursday, SA Airways cancelled pay talks with the union.
“The decision to call off the negotiations is a result of the striking Satawu members' disregard of the picketing rules and intensified unruly behaviour,” SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said in a statement.
“Since (Wednesday), striking Satawu members were involved in erratic acts of intimidation, trespassing and damage to property.”
Satawu was demanding a double-digit pay hike and rejected the 6.5 percent SAA had offered, while trade union Solidarity and the Aviation Union of SA (Ausa) accepted the deal.