Air traffic controllers, navigation services could face job cuts

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ATNS is one of the creditors of South African Airways. (iStock)
ATNS is one of the creditors of South African Airways. (iStock)

Employees of Air Traffic and Navigation Services were informed on Tuesday of a possible retrenchment process in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

ATNS operates, among others, at nine airports operated by Airports Company SA (ACSA). Its services extend beyond air traffic control and also include the provision of vitally important aeronautical information used for all flight planning purposes as well as search and rescue coordination activities, and the maintenance of a reliable navigation infrastructure.

ATNS is one of the creditors of South African Airways (SAA). In terms of SAA's rescue plan, concurrent creditors will only get 7.5 cents in the rand back.

In a letter to employees, seen by Fin24, the CEO (Delegated) Dumisani Sangweni says, although retrenchments are being contemplated, ATNS has not taken any final decisions regarding such a step. The notice in terms of the act merely initiates the consultation process which will be undertaken with the representative unions and the non-unionised employees representative committee.

ATNS has opted for a CCMA facilitated consultation process.

"The company will try everything possible to find alternative measures to mitigate the need to dismiss employees based on operational requirements," says Sangweni.

"The road ahead will not be easy for everyone, but we request all employees to walk side by side with the company to try and find suitable solutions to resolve the deteriorating position it finds itself in."

UPDATE: The union Solidarity says it met with the management of ATNS regarding the expected process. Solidarity also took the opportunity to advise management on the legal requirements regarding the issuing of the section 189 notice to employees.

"Solidarity is still studying the information and may seek clarity on certain aspects before dealing with the company's proposals. This process is structured, and each item will be dealt with as the process unfolds," the union said in a letter to employees seen by Fin24.

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