SAA strike

NUMSA Planning Secondary Strike Across Aviation Industry After SAA Negotiations Collapse

Riyaz Patel

The National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) said Sunday it’s consulting with workers on a secondary strike across the industry after talks with the state-run carrier South African Airways (SAA) collapsed

“This secondary strike will have the impact of shutting down the entire aviation sector,” said NUMSA spokeswoman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.

Consultations are underway with workers at the Civil Aviation Authority, Mango Airlines, SA Express, Airports Company South Africa and Comair, she said.

“If you have workers at the Civil Aviation Authority on strike, it means that none of the planes are going to fly. It’s not just SAA, it’s all planes,” said Hlubi-Majola.

In a joint statement, NUMSA and SACCA said the meeting produced no resolution in the ongoing impasse.

This past week, SAA said it would potentially have to cut 944 jobs as part of its restructuring process.

Unions are also demanding an increase of 8% across-the-board while management is offering 5.9%.

On Saturday, NUMSA said it’s seeking meetings with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni as well as Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

We think SAA can be saved and turned around, but we are of the view that some in government have taken the view that, unless SAA is privatised, there can be no other solution,” NUMSA general secretary Irvin Jim said ahead of the start of the CCMA negotiations.

As the strike got underway Friday, SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said: “All of us must understand how serious this is. We are exposing ourselves to revenue loss of R52m a day. If this continues there will be no winners.”

Hlubi-Majola responded: “It tells us this airline would rather waste R52m a day than look at workers’ wages. What kind of financial strategy is that? That is not good leadership. I would urge the executive management of SAA, the board and the shareholder to demonstrate genuine leadership and try to find a solution for the strike.”

SAA, which is technically insolvent, has said it would apply a “no work no pay” principle to striking workers.

Those who participate in the strike action will not be permitted back to work until the strike is over,” said Martin Kemp, SAA’s acting general manager for human resources.

“The rest of the employees who report for duty will be allowed to work.”

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