The aircraft maintenance technicians’ strike at Houari Boumediene Airport’s maintenance base in the Algerian capital has continued into the fourth day in a row.
The head of National Union of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (STNMA), Ahmed Botoumi, revealed on Wednesday the expansion of the strike to include workers from some local airports who joined the protest.
Boutoumi said in a press statement that aircrafts belonging to Air Algérie take off from Algiers International Airport without being monitored and examined by technicians and maintenance engineers.
He also mentioned that the strike was initiated in solidarity with the 12 engineers who were dismissed on Tuesday. Thus, the protest shifted to a national scale after being limited to the capital.
“The dialogue with the concerned authorities is still not possible until we manage to settle this inconvenient situation that does not help either the workers or the airport management,” explained the president of the STNMA.
Boutoumi denied the existence of any contact between the union and the relevant authorities, namely, the Transport Ministry, or the Algerian Civil Aviation Authority.
Air Algérie stated on Tuesday, confirming that the strike is illegal and that the company’s income does not allow for increasing wages. The company noted that the staff had already received bonuses, expressing its surprise when the workers entered a strike. However, protesters were not convinced of the justifications provided by the company, announcing their intention to continue to strike in solidarity with their suspended colleagues.
The management of Air Algérie decided to fire ten striking maintenance technicians, after exhausting the legal steps and necessary measures to handle such situations, including the presence of a solicitor.
The management board of Air Algerie declared that “amid the workers’ insistence on illegal interruption of the company’s activities, the Algerian Civil Aviation Authority took appropriate measures that conform to the legal and regulatory standards and procedures against the individuals who proved to be the cause of such disruption.”
It is noted that, on Sunday night, Algerian aircraft maintenance technicians entered in a strike at Houari Boumediene Airport, calling for several professional and social demands.
The STNMA, in the words of its President Ahmed Botoumi, has not assumed responsibility for the strike and described it as an “unorganised and spontaneous move that did not respect legal procedures, as it was initiated collectively by the aviation engineers without having the necessary support provided by the union in such cases”. As such, the strikers attempted to demand the administration of Air Algerie to implement the terms of the collective agreement signed earlier by the management and the union.”
Boutoumi asserted that the strike is “chaotic,” as the workers decided to start a protest without consulting or taking the union’s approval. The spokesman confirmed that the union had issued a strike notice to the Casablanca court about two months ago. However, the court ruled that the strike was illegal, a decision which angered the workers who decided to strike without reference to any of their unions, including the National Union of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians.