SAAF and Denel Aviation/AMG to enter into a new contract for aircraft maintenance
Trade union, Solidarity, today announced that the South African Air Force (SAAF) and Denel Aviation/AMG will conclude a new contract for aircraft maintenance in terms of which between 100 and 150 employees will be retained. Solidarity will know by late tonight or early tomorrow morning exactly how many employees will be retained, which skills they have, and where they will be stationed.
Jack Loggenberg, spokesperson for Solidarity, says the new contract follows after negotiations between the SAAF and Denel Aviation/AMG and consultations with trade unions. ‘We will know be late tonight or early tomorrow morning exactly how many of the 523 aircraft specialists will be included in the new 12-month contract. Those employees will then remain in Denel's employ and the Air Force would be in breach of Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act should it now directly employ the employees. The remaining employees will also receive notices tomorrow to comply with the current contract's termination date of 31 March. Solidarity will continue its efforts to have the remaining employees redeployed within Denel or other companies. However, chances are very slim.'
Loggenberg says Solidarity will, in the meantime, keep a close eye on developments with regard to the new contract to ensure that it does not discriminate against some employees. This follows after Dr Sam Gulube, the Secretary of Defence, was quoted as having told Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts that most of the Denel technicians were white and older than 60. ‘No discrimination will be tolerated. It is, however, not true that most of the technicians are 60 and older. Many of them are indeed older than 50, with only a few being 60 or older. The contract's term will be used to facilitate a smooth transition. The transition aims to establish in-house expertise.'
Solidarity represents 227 of the 523 aircraft specialists. These employees are stationed at various squadrons countrywide, including Hoedspruit, Lephalale (Ellisras), Louis Trichardt, Bredasdorp, Ysterplaat and Langebaan. Around 40% of the aircraft specialists are stationed in Pretoria.
Statement issued by Jack Loggenberg, Spokesperson: Solidarity, February 27 2013