(TVLW) – The trade union Solidarity today expressed its support for the management of airline Nationwide, following a meeting with its members in the company. Solidarity also called on Nationwide management to do everything in its power to ensure job security for its employees, and asked the public to support Nationwide once it resumes service to enable the company to survive its recent setback. This came on November 29th, when the licence of the group’s Aviation Maintenance Organisation (AMO) was revoked.
Only one Nationwide airplane has been declared airworthy and flights between Johannesburg and London have resumed.
According to Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, the trade union is deeply concerned about the future of Nationwide’s 1 048 employees. “This week saw the submission of a Section 189 retrenchment process in a section of Nationwide. The retrenchment currently applies to lower qualified employees, like cleaners. “Solidarity and other trade unions are in consultation with the airline about its planned retrenchments. We will make sure that the rights of our members are safeguarded in the process,” Kleynhans said.
Although Nationwide’s technical team is working round the clock, together with Safair, to have the fleet of 16 airplanes declared airworthy as soon as possible, a decision has yet to be taken on the future of these and other highly qualified Nationwide employees. The painstaking inspection process is expected to take approximately 16 weeks, since it takes one week to have one airplane declared airworthy. “In the meantime we appeal to the public to support the airline once its services are resumed, in order to prevent a widespread retrenchment process,” Kleynhans said.
“These employees remain full-fledged Nationwide employees and any change in their status will be taken up with the employer by Solidarity,” Kleynhans said. “At the moment the technical teams are concentrating on the operational steps that are required to declare the fleet airworthy.”
“Solidarity realises that Nationwide has been severely affected by the events of the past two weeks, but supports company management in all reasonable steps that are needed to ensure job security. The trade union is in on-going discussions with Nationwide regarding all matters that may affect its members,” Kleynhans said.