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Statement in support of Equity Aviation Services strikers

9 March 2004

African National Congress
South African Communist Party
Congress of South African Trade Unions
South African National Civics Organisation

The African National Congress, the South African Communist Party, the South African National Civics Organisation and the Congress of South African Trade Unions declare their solidarity with the members of SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) who have been on strike for eleven weeks against their employer, Equity Aviation Services (EAS).

The alliance leadership has decided it is time to express practical solidarity with these workers who are going through hell because of the intransigence of the arrogant management of EAS. This employer is trying to defeat collective action, but we will not submit.

A protected strike started on 18 December 2003 and management in the course of negotiations has tried to impose new working conditions on workers through a defensive lockout. It has selectively and maliciously dismissed 150 workers for participating in the strike, in an effort to intimidate striking workers and break their spirit.

Now it is insisting that it talks directly to our members thereby undermining our status as a trade union and further implying that SATAWU is not representative as the sole collective bargaining agent.

The workers are insistent that no downward variations to existing conditions are acceptable, in particular the insistence by management that workers accept a move from 40 to 45 working hours without compensation.

The ANC, SACP, SANCO and COSATU fully agree with SATAWU that the basis of that engagement should be that EAS should:

  1. Drop its insistence on any new conditions in this round of negotiations until an 18-month period has expired
  2. Return all dismissed workers to work unconditionally
  3. Withdraw all unilateral implementation of existing conditions
  4. Recognise existing collective agreements and engage with SATAWU around negotiating amendments thereto
  5. Desist from undermining SATAWU and attempting to discredit the union in the eyes of its members
  6. Normalise industrial relations and desist from communication through lawyers
  7. Return to the negotiating table and find a negotiated solution.

Patrick Craven
Acting COSATU Spokesperson

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