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Unions set to intensify SAA strike after talks break down

On Tuesday, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) met with government as well as SAA's executive management and some board members.

SAA workers strike, bringing operations OR Tambo International Airport to a standstill. Picture: Numsa Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - There has been another setback in the talks between trade unions and the South African Airways (SAA), with a break down in late-night negotiations.

Striking workers are now planning to intensify their industrial action.

On Tuesday, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) met with government as well as SAA's executive management and some board members.

The unions are expected to give more details about their next move at an urgent briefing on Wednesday morning following Tuesday’s meeting with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan said the state-owned enterprise could not afford to meet the unions’ demands of an 8% salary increase.

He said government was facing severe fiscal constraints and even if there were funds available, there was no legal mechanism to provide funding to SAA in the current year.

Sacca deputy president Christopher Shabangu said the unions were disappointed: “Everything just crumbled yesterday. I am gutted, I am thinking of those workers that have been standing out there fighting. Sadly, the way forward is that we have to now go on and intensify our strike.”