20 November 2012

Namibia: We Are Broke, Air Namibia Tells Pilots

THEO Namases, the managing director of Air Namibia, says the national airline does not have the money to increase the offer made to striking pilots.

Management had offered a 5% salary increase across the board, backdated to April 1 2012, but the pilots rejected it.

The strike, which enters its fifth day today, follows a deadlock in salary negotiations between management and the Namibian Airline Pilots Association (Napa).

“The offer is still on the table and there is no better offer. The union should understand the Air Namibia situation that there is no money. There is nothing,” she said.

“Whatever we decide, we will not ask the government for money. The money will have to come from Air Namibia coffers,” Namases told The Namibian yesterday.

She added that they continued to talk to the pilots to make them understand that the national airline is broke.

Air Namibia held an executive committee meeting late yesterday to plan the way forward.

Airline spokesman Paulus Nakawa yesterday announced the cancellation of seven more flights today as a result of the strike.

Ten flights were cancelled on Sunday and yesterday, in addition to 14 flights that were called off last week.

Nakawa earlier said the strike was costing the airline N$5 million a day.

Napa president Christian Schneider said there are about 50 to 55 pilots on strike.

He claimed that Air Namibia pilots were receiving nearly 30% less than those at other airlines.

“Napa members are aware of the inconvenience and economic loss that cessation of the schedule of the country’s national carrier would cause. Industrial action is seen very much as a last resort. Every attempt has been made to avoid a strike,” he said.

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