Jat Tehnika privatisation: Out of turbulence...for now

Management of Jat Airways’ independent engineering branch, Jat Tehnika, has said its union could go on strike as it believes the Serbian government has already agreed to sell the company to the Singaporean ST Engineering despite an ongoing tender. ST was favoured from the beginning by Jat Tehnika management however problems began a few days ago when the management of the Singaporean based company, which already has its European hub in Poland, announced that if it purchased Tehnika it would cut jobs and workers would have to work “twice as hard” in order for its profitable run to continue. Angry, the mechanics announced they would strike which would paralyse the national airline. Franticly the Serbian government immediately held talks with the director of the union. Emerging from the talks, the union director seemed pleased for the time being. He announced that the Serbian Privatisation Agency and Jat Tehnika would now work together in order to resolve the issue and that the strike action is for now postponed until further notice.

Jat technicians went on strike last in 2005 causing mass disruption to Jat Airways scheduling. The airline was so badly affected it had losses by the end of the year due to the industrial action, had to lease Airbus aircraft operated by foreign pilots, hired technicians from Tunisia and the end result led to a complete change in Jat Airways management. The industrial action was ended when Jat Tehnika was recognised as a separate company owned by the government – not as a part of the Serbian national carrier. Since there had not been problems as both went into profit by 2007. Had Jat Tehnika stayed with Jat Airways the current total price in the airlines privatisation would stand at 400 million Euros. Jat Tehnika is based at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. It is the largest aircraft maintenance company in the EX-Yugoslav region.