Maputo — All the grievances presented by cabin crew of Mozambique Airlines (LAM) will be dealt with between now and January, according to LAM technical director, Joao de Abreu, speaking at a press conference on Monday.
It was the establishment of this timetable that persuaded the cabin crew to suspend the strike they began on Sunday.
The most serous grievance concerns life insurance. The strikers said that since 2005, they have signed no insurance documents, and the company has given them no proof that they are indeed insured.
On Sunday, Abreu told reporters that LAM would never fly without life insurance, and regretted that the workers seemed unaware of this. He said that this insurance is collective and not individual.
However, at the Monday press conference, he guaranteed that the matter would be cleared up once and for all by the end of this month. He showed insurance policies for the crew members valid until April 2013, and once again insisted that, without these policies, the LAM planes would not be allowed to fly.
The company’s answer to the cabin crew’s demand for allowances, particularly for working at nights, would be given as from 15 December.
Wage rises and a review of the professional career structure are regarded as “structural issues” and the strikers agreed that these could be discussed in January.
Representatives of the strikers told reporters they accepted that the next wage rise would be “what is possible, and not what we desire”, since the company’s budget for 2013 has already been approved.
Abreu said that, despite the strike, LAM, in partnership with its subsidiary MEX, was able to operate 21 flights on Sunday, carrying about 2,200 passengers. The two international flights (Maputo-Johannesburg-Maputo and Maputo-Dar es Salaam-Maputo) were flown by an aircraft hired from South African Airways (SAA), and with a South African crew, under a contract with SAA which expires at the end of this month.
One domestic flight, from Maputo to the northern cities of Lichinga and Nampula, and back, was cancelled. It was rescheduled for Monday afternoon, which meant that LAM incurred costs for passengers who do not live in Maputo. LAM had to accommodate about 40 of them in Maputo hotels.
Abreu could not say how much this had cost, but he claimed it was “marginal”.