Unions intensify SAA strike action following negotiations

Unions intensify SAA strike action following negotiations

Protesters outside SAAs Airlines Park in Kempton Park, 19 November 2019. Picture: Neil McCartney

A revoked alleged offer of 6.5% has resulted in unions serving a notice for secondary strike.

National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) has called an urgent briefing to provide feedback on ongoing negotiations with South African Airways (SAA) management.

Numsa alongside the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) as well as the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) plans to intensify the strike action following a decision by SAA to backtrack on a 6.5% offer which was made during negotiations.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola claims SAA management upped their initial offer to 6.5% during talks on Tuesday, but then backtracked on the offer at the last minute.

She said the unions were willing to consider the offer, however, management’s decision to withdraw the new offer had resulted in a secondary notice issued to SAA.

As the mass action continues into its sixth-day, unions have now announced that they have issued a notice for a secondary strike to Air Chefs even though SAA maintains that there is no money for increments.

In Jet Park, workers continued their picket against retrenchments, corruption, and privatisation and have intensified the mass action due to the breakdown in negotiations. The airline has not backed down on retrenchments.

Saftu, which came on board on Wednesday to picket in solidarity with workers, remains resolute in the fight for wage increases.

Both Numsa and Sacca have resolved that the strike must be intensified because the board and some executive managers would rather see SAA collapse than root out corruption, looting, and maladministration.

In a statement, they said: “SAA must drastically reduce its costs. Insourcing services, which it has the capacity to offer internally, is an obvious solution. Their refusal is proof that they want the airline to collapse.”

The unions were in consultations with various entities on launching a secondary strike. These include the Civil Aviation Authority, Mango Airline, Safair, SA Express, Airports Company SA, Reshebile Security, Morena Cleaning, Vizini, Azda, Swissport, Bid Air Services and Comair.

“We are also consulting airline catering companies such as Air Chefs, Food Direction, LSG Sky Chefs, and Dnata,” said Numsa.

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