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Essential workers strike at Gateway Airport

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About 85% of all essential services staff at the Polokwane International, all members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), is striking.
Kate Matlou, Satawu site shop steward, said the workers began their protected strike today (Thursday). She explained that airplanes landing at the airport do so at a very high riskas fire and rescue workers, aviation security, maintenance, cleaning, information desk and apron charges staff are on strike.
“No fees will be collected today at the airport,” Matlou told Polokwane Observer. She said the strike will continue until management brings “something better” to the table.
According to Matlou an agreement was reached whereby the supervisors agreed to accept a decrease in management’s above board offer of 6% in order for the lower paid workers to get a better deal and the agreement was to be signed at a scheduled meeting when the Gateway Airport Authority Limited (Gaal) CEO, Thulani Zulu, intervened and said his initial offer stands.
“It would have meant an amount of around R900 more for the lower paid workers, now it is back to the initial offer of 6% increase for all,” Matlou explained. She said the strike excludes management staff.
“We need rand value increases, not percentages as it only serves to increase gaps in salaries, especially for those earning R3 000 to R5 000,” she said. A dispute was declared and the workers applied for a certificate to strike, in which 48 hours were given before a strike commences.
Matlou said the workers wanted a R2 000 increase, a R1 600 housing allowance and a R10 per hour night shift allowance as well as an improvement in the medical aid contribution by the employer.
Zulu could not be reached for comment.

NELIE ERASMUS
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