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Numsa, Sacca reject claims that strike crippled SAA financially

The workers' unions says the current board and senior management of SAA knew the dire straits the company was in prior to the strikes and should take responsibility for it.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) has on Tuesday rejected statements made by the Department of Public Enterprises that the strike crippled the finances of the South African Airways (SAA).

The workers' unions said prior to the strike, the current board and senior management of SAA knew the dire straits the company was in and should take responsibility for it.

Last month, over 3,000 of the state-owned entity's workers protested over wages and planned job cuts.

Flights were cancelled, with the airline losing millions a day and workers were on a no work no pay strike. Workers eventually were granted a 5.9% raise, with MPs criticising the decision by the embattled SOE. Days after, SAA workers were paid half of their November salaries.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said on Tuesday: “We believe that this is an opportunistic attempt to deflect attention away from the reality that the board and senior management created this environment. Secondly, we have to place it on the record that this management and this board knew, since June that they didn’t have enough money for operational expenses until the end of the year.”