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Numsa threatens 'mother of all strikes' over planned SAA retrenchments

South African Airways (SAA) is carrying out its restructuring plan which is informed by its turnaround strategy to deal with, among others, its funding and liquidity challenges.

FILE: South African Airways planes. Picture: Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG - Trade unions have warned that they will embark on national protests and shut down the national carrier should it continue with plans to retrench 944 workers.

South African Airways (SAA) is carrying out its restructuring plan which is informed by its turnaround strategy to deal with, among others, its funding and liquidity challenges.

While recognised trade unions at SAA maintained that the restructuring was nothing but a farce meant to disarm workers who were demanding wage increases, the company has now turned the tables on them.

CFO Deon Fredericks: "If everyone strikes, it will be difficult to operate, it will place the company at significant risk, it may even lead to the closure of the company and that's why we requested from the unions 'let's sit and see how we can move forward as it is difficult times.'"

Meanwhile, Numsa and the SA Cabin Crew Association, which are the majority unions at the airline through a coalition, said that they were not backing down.

The formations said that the SAA board had never been committed to turning the airline around.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi: "In the meantime, we will be preparing workers for the mother of all strikes at SAA and all its operations nationally. We have already received a strike certificate and we have concluded the balloting process."

SAA hopes to save R700 million if it succeeds to retrench the 944 workers.