South African Airways (SAA) said on Wednesday that it had cancelled 32 flights because of the cabin crew strike over demands for bigger meal allowances.
The cancelled SAA flights include 28 domestic flights, three regional flights and one international flight.
Hundreds of desperate travellers thronged the South African Airways (SAA) ticket sales desks at the OR Tambo International airport after their flights were delayed or cancelled because of a strike by cabin crew who are demanding that their meal allowances be hiked from $130 (R1 699) to $170 (R2 217).
“This is money we get to eat when we get to the destination and the living conditions are not the same as here,” said Gift Bilankulu, treasurer of the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA). About 1,300 cabin crew – 80 percent of the total – are members of SACCA.
SAA cabin crew members embarked on strike action on Wednesday morning after management did not act on their demands for increases in meal allowance for international trips, which they said had not been reviewed in six years.
Ann Skelton, an SAA passenger, who was meant to be on a flight to Port Elizabeth said she was keeping calm, but was frustrated by standing for hours in a queue.
“They told us that the flight has been cancelled.”
Another traveller, Hendry Mathonsi, said he drove from Nelspruit to catch a flight to Cape Town for a work event.
“SAA has said nothing, we’ve already made reservations that side, and if we don’t arrive today, we don’t even know if they will compensate us.”
In an earlier statement SAA said: “The required number of cabin crew members are currently not available to enable SAA to operate all of its flights.”
SAA has informed SACCA that it will be heading to the courts to seek an interdict to stop the strike.
– African News Agency (ANA)