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SAA gets parly tongue-lashing over decision to grant workers 5.9% increase

The National Assembly debated the matter on Tuesday following last week’s strike at the struggling airline. MPs also want government to put an end to SAA bailouts.

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

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament have criticised South African Airways’ (SAA) decision to grant workers a 5.9% salary increase.

The National Assembly debated the matter on Tuesday following last week’s strike at the struggling airline. MPs also want the government to put an end to SAA bailouts.

The National Assembly heard how SAA received R59 billion in government bailouts since 1994.

MPs said this proved that SAA could not afford the 5.9% increase it has agreed to pay striking workers. Unions were demanding an 8% increase.

DA MP Alf Lees criticised the unions, which represent some of SAA’s 11,000 employees for their unaffordable demands.

“SAA is bankrupt. The organisation is riddled with cadre deployment, corruption and entitlement among unions that represent employees. Who in their right mind demands a salary increase from a bankrupt employer?”

IFP MP and Standing Committee on Public Accounts chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said greed, corruption and incompetent cadre deployment were at the centre SAA’s problems.

Hlengwa also called for an end to bailouts.

“We are throwing financial solutions at non-financial issues. SAA must bail itself out by doing the right thing every day.”