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Numsa threatens another strike if plans to cut SAA jobs not halted

The union approached the Labour Court on Tuesday seeking to interdict the airline’s business rescue practitioners from implementing job cuts.

Numsa and South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) members picket at the Cape Town International Airport on 15 November 2019. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said it could go on another strike at South African Airways (SAA) if retrenchments were not stopped.

The union approached the Labour Court on Tuesday seeking to interdict the airline’s business rescue practitioners (BRPs) from implementing job cuts.

Numsa said its members were paying the price for SAA’s decision to cancel domestic and international flights indefinitely. The union said its workers were already notified of the looming job losses.

When SAA announced in November last year that it planned on implementing a restructuring plan that could lead to job losses, unions downed tools in protest while demanding wage increases.

This led to the cancellation of some domestic and international flights. The strike left the struggling airline even more crippled and cost the company millions of rand.

Numsa’s general-secretary Irvin Jim said SAA could see another strike if it continued with the planned job cuts.

“Our backs are against the wall. We are talking to anybody who understands the predicament of the terrible situation which workers would be faced with if this airline retrenches workers,” he said.

While another strike would be detrimental to the sustainability of the airline, it was unclear what it would mean for the business rescue process currently underway.