Solidarity trade union claims the airline did not comply with Labour Relations Act

Lihle Z Mtshali

Lihle Z Mtshali

South African Airways was served with papers to appear in court for allegedly flouting Labour Relations Act procedures.

Trade union Solidarity said yesterday it had served a repairs unit of the airline with court papers in a bid to stop it from retrenching any more workers.

Solidarity's spokesperson, Jaco Kleynhans, said: "SAA has not followed the prescribed Labour Relations Act procedures for retrenchment. They are required by law to inform all unions of any retrenchment plans, but they did not inform us and they have not made us part of the process."

But the state-owned airline said it did not need to inform Solidarity of its plans because it did not recognise the union.

The airline's head of group corporate affairs, Robyn Chalmers, said: "SAA has consulted with all recognised trade unions throughout the restructuring process.

"Solidarity is not a recognised trade union at SAA but the union has nevertheless been invited to, and has participated in, meetings relating to the airline's restructuring process."

SAA, which suffered an R833million loss in the year to March, is in talks with labour unions on ways to save money, but has not dropped retrenchments plans.

Solidarity said SAA Technical (SAT), which performs in-house repairs and maintenance functions, was unfair in its retrenchment process and it has asked the court to prevent it from further lay-offs until it followed a fair retrenchment process.

SAT's retrenchment process started in September and Kleynhans said the company planned to retrench around 700 of its 3000 employees, 400 of which are Solidarity members. - I-Net Bridge