AIRPORT technical workers start a wage strike today but airlines don’t expect much disruption to flights, despite a warning by the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union.
The union and management could not agree on a once-off 0.4 percent payment of monthly salaries after SAA implemented a 6.5 percent increase, Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said yesterday.
He said wage negotiations started in June and increases were due this month.
Satawu lowered its initial demand of 12 percent to a 6.5 percent increase plus a 0.4 percent once-off payment but management had refused to agree to the 0.4 percent, said Masoga. He said the minimum salary was R4 200.
Satawu’s 1 300 members in the division are responsible for minor repairs on aircraft and ensure aircraft are fuelled. Masoga said airlines affected by the strike include SAA, Mango, British Airways and Zimbabwe Airways.
Most of the employees were based at OR Tambo International in Joburg with 80 workers each at Cape Town International Airport and the King Shaka International Airport, he said.
“That once-off payment would have cost the company less than R3 million which is not a lot of money,” Masoga added.
SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said it had contingency measures to deal with the strike.
He said while SAA was willing to have further talks with Satawu, the 6.5 percent offer was what the airline could afford.
“Our passengers need to be assured that we’ll do everything possible to ensure our operations are not inconvenienced,” he said.
Mango Airline spokesman Hein Kaiser said they did not expect any interruptions in flights. “Our engineering division is in contact with SAA and we have contingency measures.”
British Airways spokesman Stephen Forbes said it was not concerned because the airline could fly in its own engineers from the UK if needed.