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Myeni directs SAA management to deal with cabin crew grievances

Workers affiliated to the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) demonstrated on Wednesday, demanding an increase in their international meal allowances when travelling overseas.

SAA cabin crew members on strike. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – South African Airways (SAA) board chairperson Dudu Myeni has directed the airline’s management to urgently deal with the issues raised by striking cabin crew.

Workers affiliated to the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) demonstrated on Wednesday, demanding an increase in their international meal allowances when travelling overseas.

This forced the national carrier to cancel 32 domestic and international flights.

SAA has obtained a court interdict ordering all cabin crew to return to work immediately.

The airline’s Tladi Tladi says it should be business as usual on Thursday.

“The employees have to return to work and the union will have to communicate this to its members.”

Sacca says it will be appealing SAA’s court interdict to stop their strike.

Its president Zazi Nsibanyoni says the union is in the process of drafting its court papers.

“We’re very disappointed by that interdict because this strike of ours was a protected strike and we did have full compliance, we did have certificates from the CCMA and we obviously have decided we’ll take this matter on to review. We’re just preparing the papers.”

The airline’s acting Chief Executive Officer Musa Zwane said he’s hoping for a speedy resolution with the association.

The association is demanding that the airline address its demands, chief among them, is an increase in the daily meal allowance from $131 a day to $170.

Association spokesperson Mathew Kleinhans says: “We have to use our meal allowance to complement our salaries, because our salaries are pathetically low. Twenty years senior and I don’t even clear R20,000 and I have to use my meal allowance to supplement my income so I can afford things like a bond. If you go apply for a bond with our salary they laugh at you.”

The protesters at the Airways Park dispersed just moments after their leaders delivered a message from SAA that they should vacate the area.

SA Cabin Crew Association's Mpho Moikangoa said they will continue engaging the airline in an effort to resolve their issues with management.

“We have exhausted everything with all our issues, which is about 13 of them. The meal allowance is an issue that was affecting us every day."

Moikangoa said besides the meal allowance dissatisfaction, SAA has not been able to have clear career path development for workers, and haven’t been complying with some acts governing the relationship between employee and their employer.

Meanwhile, it is not clear if domestic flights which were earlier cancelled will be diverted to Thursday when workers return.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)