Talks between unions, SAA stall after call for NTM to join talks

Numsa’s Irvin Jim says SAA management has called for the inclusion of a third union in wage talks which seek to end the ongoing strike.

Striking South African Airways (SAA) workers outside the firm's Airways Park office on 15 November 2019. Picture: Bonga Dulane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) say there hasn't been much progress with South African Airways (SAA) as the airlines management wants another union, the National Transport Movement (NTM) to enter wage talks.

Workers went on strike on Friday, demanding an 8% wage increase while the national carrier is offering 5.9%.

The strike led to SAA cancelling flights on Saturday and Sunday, which could cost the airline an estimated R50 million a day.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is holding mediation with SAA management, Sacca and Numsa on Saturday to resolve the strike which has entered its second day.

Speaking in isiXhosa Numsa's general secretary Irvin Jim said, “[Management says we can’t continue talks without NTM but we are saying make your own time to speak to NTM. This is the time for striking employees.”

At the same time, a group of SAA employees have once again gathered on the outskirts of Cape Town International Airport on Saturday.

Sacca shop steward Sonja Eidz says they have gathered on a field in the cargo operations area.

“In Cape Town and Johannesburg we have a lot of members. In Cape Town, there are about 100 of us picketing. We are not backing down from our demands. This went from a strike for increase to a strike for job protection.”