Union protest at OR Tambo Airport spiked

A NEW trade union faced obstacles yesterday as it attempted to protest outside OR Tambo International Airport over pay, World Cup bonuses and bargaining rights.

A NEW trade union faced obstacles yesterday as it attempted to protest outside OR Tambo International Airport over pay, World Cup bonuses and bargaining rights.

Spokesperson for the SA Aviation and Allied Workers Union Levy Mhlaba said the union was told it could not protest at the airport because it was a national key point.

Protesters were then moved out of the terminal building.

As the police did not know where the protesters could demonstrate, the group of more than 100 dispersed.

Mhlaba claimed that Fifa gave the Airports Company of SA and airport retailers money to pay workers a bonus for ensuring the smooth running of facilities during the World Cup. He said not all workers were being paid the bonus and they wanted to know why.

But Acsa spokesperson Solomon Makgale denied this.

"We haven't received any money from Fifa. They are referring to an incentive scheme for Acsa employees at the airport."

He said Acsa decided to pay a bonus of R800 a week to employees who were at work during the World Cup.

This extended to long-term employees on a contract of longer than six months who did work related to the World Cup, but excluded employees of companies contracted by Acsa.

Mhlaba said the union was also unhappy that some cleaners and general staff employed by retailers at the airport were being paid R1300, which it did not consider a living wage.

He said the union was demanding R7500 a month, claiming this was the amount labour brokers were paid to source staff who did the same jobs.

The union, which claims to have 30000 members, also wanted recognition by Acsa.

Mhlaba and the union's president, Prince Mabena, were fired last year for doing union work during work hours.

Mhlaba said Mabena won his case at the CCMA, but Acsa did not want him back. Mhlaba's case was still proceeding at the CCMA.

He said the union had applied for affiliation to Cosatu, but had been rejected as the federation believed the union supported Cope.

Cosatu's Patrick Craven said he knew nothing about the union and was not aware of its application for affiliation. - Sapa

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