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Satawu: SAA being unreasonable and need to come to their senses

Satawu's Zanele Sabela said that management at the national carrier took decisions unilaterally.

Numsa and South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) members picket at the SAA Airways Park in Kempton Park on 15 November 2019. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - One of the unions which has rejected SAA's restructuring plans is heading to court on Friday morning.

The airline said that its restructuring plan would be finalised by March next year and it's intended to save the firm R700 million.

But more than 900 employees could lose their jobs and unions are fighting this.

They've also rejected SAA's latest wage offer.

Satawu's Zanele Sabela said that management at the national carrier took decisions unilaterally.

"This whole grandstanding now where they've already stopped flights when all they could have done was come to the table. We're just not sure what it is they're doing but it's unreasonable, it's unprocedural and they need to come to their senses and come to the table."

The South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) has called for accountability and better management at SAA.

Spokesperson Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi: "By mid-December, they could get enough money from procurement that they're spending irregularly, from contracts that are over-priced that can fund the increase. So, we've given them solutions and it's just for them to do the work and make sure that it happens."

SAA has cancelled more than 100 local and international flights for today and Saturday.

Staff have abandoned their posts at airports including OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and King Shaka International Airport in Durban.

IMPASSE

Earlier, SAA'S acting CFO Deon Fredricks said that management had bent over backward to make a deal with striking unions but they won't budge.

Unions including Numsa, the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and Satawu were angry over restructuring plans which could see more than 900 retrenchments.

They'd also rejected the airline's 5.9% pay increase offer, demanding 8%.

Fredricks said that all attempts to resolve the impasse had failed.

"We'd given them a new offer that we will pay them six months back pay in April, the balance in October. We will then also increase their salaries by 5% in April. Yesterday, we improved that offer, that we will pay them in March and we will go and look for funding to go and pay for that."

Meanwhile, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) said that they were working with SAA and other airlines to minimise the impact of the strike.

In a statement released this morning, the company said that operational disruptions were being kept to a minimum as a result of contingency plans activated earlier in the week.

Additional ground, terminal and security staff have been deployed at airports this morning to provide support to passengers and airlines that are processing re-bookings for affected passengers.

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