Trade union Solidarity has declared another wage dispute with low-cost airline Mango and referred the dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. A similar dispute was declared last year. Pilots of Mango earn 30% less than their counterparts at Comair and 45% less than pilots at South African Airlines (SAA), even though Mango is a subsidiary of SAA.
According to Johan Kruger, spokesperson for Solidarity, Mango’s pilots are expected to be as competent and to bear the same responsibilities as other commercial pilots. “Their remuneration is still below that of their counterparts at other low-cost airlines. In addition, a junior pilot at SAA earns a higher salary than a senior and experienced pilot at Mango,” said Kruger.
Solidarity and the management of Mango agreed in December 2011 to start a process to bring Mango pilots’ salaries in line with salaries at the other low-cost airlines in the industry over the next three years. However, during a last consultation two days ago, the parties failed to come to an agreement about what market-related salaries for pilots at low-cost airlines entail.
“Mango’s management are demanding that pilots’ salaries be adjusted according to those of low-cost airline 1Time, while Solidarity is demanding that its members’ salaries be adjusted upwardly to bring them in line with the salaries of their counterparts at Kulula, a subsidiary of Comair. The employer maintains that Kulula does not fall in the same class as Mango, seeing that Comair is not a low-cost airline. Pilots at Kulula earn 30% more than their counterparts at Mango and pilots at 1Time only earn about 3% more than Mango’s pilots. The employer has, in the meantime, offered a wage increase of between 6% and 9%. However, Mango’s offer will not contribute to this process and will lead to Mango pilots’ salaries falling further behind those in the rest of the industry,” explained Kruger.
Solidarity is committed to continuing negotiations and to seek a solution around the negotiating table. Solidarity signed a recognition agreement with Mango in 2010, giving the trade union bargaining power to negotiate for, among other things, wage increases on its members’ behalf. Solidarity represents the vast majority of Mango’s pilots.