Cape Town - The National Transport Movement (NTM) has called off a strike at South African Airways (SAA) following a meeting with the airline’s acting CEO Vuyisile Kona.
The relatively unknown union said Kona has promised to brief SAA's executive committee on NTM's demands on Monday, and will report back to the union on Tuesday.
NTM deputy general secretary Liver Mngomezulu said the union simply wants to be recognised, and to enjoy the same privileges as other unions at SAA.
However, SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the NTM does not meet the required member threshold for recognition.
“Any new union has to abide by existing labour rules and protocols. If we change the rules for one group, next thing there may be a 100 other unions all wanting to negotiate. That is why there are these measures in place.”
Tlali said the airline met with the union representatives on numerous occasions in December to determine the verification process that would allow it to be recognised within the airline.
A report by a commissioner of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was made available to SAA on December 31 2012.
A statement released by the airline said: "The (CCMA) commissioner confirmed in his report that the union has 1 111 members at the SAA, and needs to have at least 1 220 to meet 30% of 4 065 employees who are part of the bargaining unit.
"This therefore confirmed that NTM failed to meet the 30% threshold. This is why the NTM remains unrecognised at SAA."
Mngomezulu said the airline's stance is peculiar, given that other unions recognised by the airline have about 200 members.
He insists NTM represents more than 30% of SAA workers. “In fact, we are the biggest union there.”
Meanwhile, sister site News24 reported on Friday that no
flights have been disrupted by the looming strike action.
*Follow James-Brent Styan on Twitter at @jamesstyan.
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