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Unions serve SAA with 48-hour strike notice

The announcement comes just hours after the South African Airways board warned industrial action could sound the death knell for the struggling airline.

FILE: They say their members would go on strike on Friday, angry over the airline's announcement of restructuring that could lead to mass job cuts. Picture: South African Airways.

CAPE TOWN - Trade unions on Wednesday served the South African Airways (SAA) with a 48-hour strike notice.

They say their members would go on strike on Friday, angry over the airline's announcement of restructuring that could lead to mass job cuts.

The announcement comes just hours after the SAA board warned industrial action could sound the death knell for the struggling airline and could prove too costly for the entity, which is technically insolvent.

SAA management and the board briefed members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday on its failure to table annual financial statements for a second year running.

SAA board member Martin Kingston warned a strike at the airline would cost the company R50 million a day.

He said the strike would scupper any chance of the airline recovering.

“The consequence of our current financial circumstances and the threat of the strikes will undermine any chances of a turnaround being achieved.”

Acting CEO Zuks Ramasia said they were in consultation with unions and would work with shareholders to resolve matters.

WATCH: SAA: The current environment is against us

TALKS

Unions Numsa and the SA Cabin Crew Association said they were open to talks with SAA management to avert a crippling strike planned for this Friday.

About 3,000 of their members are expected to go on strike, which will likely lead to flight disruptions.

Numsa’s general secretary Irvin Jim said: “This strike will be indefinite until these people come to the table. We will give them a notice for a secondary strike.”

Unions want an 8% increase across the board and job security for at least three years for their members.

Jim said they also rejected SAA’s planned retrenchment of 944 workers in order to save costs.

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