IFP calls for Gordhan’s intervention on SAA strike

Travellers queue for reimbursement for their flights, 15 November 2019. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The party wants grievances to be handled in the boardroom and not in a strike.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has called for South African Airways (SAA) workers to return to work and settle their grievances in the boardroom.

The party, which called for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s intervention, issued a statement calling for workers to act patriotically by returning to work, “as the country could not afford a total collapse of SAA”.

SA check-in desk abandoned at OR Tambo, November 15 2019. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

“It is unfortunate that workers wage concerns have to be set aside to save SAA, because top-level management, the board, and the department of public enterprises have failed to root out corruption. Our economy and our country right now can ill-afford another blow to the public purse.”

The party called on the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to return to the drawing board in order to find an amicable solution forward.

“We call on Gordhan to intervene by playing an intermediary role in order to get a settlement agreement and to negotiate a deal that would accommodate workers’ demands sufficiently with SAA budgetary constraints in mind.”

SAA would only be in a better position to provide more competitive salaries and due increases only when its books were able to balance, the party argued.

Travellers queue for reimbursement for their flights, 15 November 2019. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

SAA workers on Friday embarked on a strike for higher wages and against the national carrier’s retrenchment plan. The strike has forced the carrier to cancel more than 200 domestic, regional and international flights between Friday and Saturday.

The South African Airways Cabin Crew Association and the Numsa served the airline with a strike notice for Friday confirming 3,000 members would be participating in the strike.

(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko, additional reporting by News24 Wire)

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