SAA in talks with unions, CCMA to end ‘mother of all strikes’

Management of embattled state-owned entity South African Airways (SAA) are currently in talks with striking unions and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in an attempt to put an end to the current crippling strike, SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed.

This as demonstrations for wage increases and detrimental procurement spending enters its second day outside SAA headquarters in Kempton Park. 

TNational Union for Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa) spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said management had offered a 5.9% increase, while the unions’ demand was 8%.

She said the unions would not budge and that “this will be an indefinite [strike] until management gives into our demands!”

South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) president Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi said management had revealed the airline would be losing R50 million for every day of the strike, but the wage increases would cost them two working days a year (R100 million).

The cash-strapped airline announced a restructuring process on Monday, which they said could affect up to 944 employees. 

This after “numerous” challenges have been experienced by the airline, including insufficient revenue, volatile fuel prices and mounting debt. 

Sacca and Numsa earlier condemned SAA for informing workers of the impending restructure via a media statement.

They also questioned the basis on which SAA management intended to restructure, when the organisational redesign had not been completed, and accused management of intending to “run away from holding” senior executives at the airline for corruption and theft. 

They have also called for the current SAA board to be scrapped, deeming them unfit to run the airline. 

Compiled by Nica Schreuder/The Citizen 

Additional reporting by AFP, Makhosandile Zulu and Chisom Jenniffer Okoye