Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More than 90% of airline technicians want to leave

By Ilhaam Hoosain
25 June 2008


The trade union Solidarity today made an urgent appeal to the technical division of the South African Airways (SAAT), to seek a solution for the low morale of its employees at this company.

The trade union also warned the company that the high levels of alienation in SAAT could lead to a crisis. The company is facing a mass departure of skilled employees as well as directly affecting airline safety.

An opinion poll that was recently held by Solidarity among approximately 110 SAAT employees, 90% of employees are considering resigning while 91% are totally demotivated. Approximately 82% of these employees are technicians and approximately 80% have between 16 and 20 year service with the company.

“The 20 experts who have been imported because of the shortage of skilled technicians by SAAT are paid between £22 and £30 an hour (between approximately R340 and R470),” says spokesman Jaco Kleynhans.

“The aviation industry and more specifically SAAT can no longer ignore the exodus of skills. The departure not only results in the immediate loss of experts, but also leads to a loss of investment in training. For every South African technician who is attracted abroad, SAAT technically loses approximately R1,6 million in the form of a training investment made in the technician. SAAT is not making any effort to protect its investment and is alienating the employees even further with the appointment of these foreign employees,” Kleynhans said.

He adds that the South African aviation technicians are still attracted abroad by large salaries as local salaries are not internationally competitive, but foreign technicians are imported at high salaries to resolve the skills crisis here.

He concludes that the employees are extremely displeased with the salary structures of the foreign experts and some are even threatening industrial action.

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