Solidarity was issued with a certificate of non-resolution by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) yesterday, which entitles their members to embark on a strike after giving 48 hours’ notice.
Mango has said in a statement contingency plans are in place to manage possible disruption of its service.
The union will be consulting its members for a mandate to strike and expects the way forward will be clear by Monday, Gouws said. Solidarity is, however, always open to further negotiations, he said.
The salaries of Mango pilots are currently 32% below that of pilots of other low-cost airlines and 40% below that of pilots of full-cost airlines. This, after the employer in 2011 undertook to close the pay gap in relation to peer airlines over a period of three years, Gouws said. But the gap in fact widened from 25% below other low-cost airline pilots in that year.
The current offer the employer has put on the table will still leave a gap of 16%.
Mango said it complies fully with the existing wage agreements reached with the pilot body in 2011 and 2012.
It argues that its pilot salaries are on par with that of SA Airlink, SA Express and other pending new entrants, but lags beghind that of premium full-cost brands SAA and Comair – a distinction it deems logical.
Spokesperson Hein Kaiser said the aviation sector is battling tight margins and the effect of the global financial crisis.
Gouws said Solidarity is negotiating in good faith. The union was entitled to have embarked on a strike on 4 December already – after 30 days of negotiations at the CCMA came to naught. “We did not do that, because we were not convinced negotiations had been exhausted.”