SAA Cancels Domestic And International Flights Ahead Of Strike

SAA Cancels Domestic And International Flights Ahead Of Strike-Surge Zirc SA
SAA Flight/Photo File: TSA

South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled almost all its domestic, regional and international flights for Friday and Saturday.

This comes after the unions have threatened to hold what they described as “mother of all strikes”. Unions including Numsa and the SA Cabin Crew Association have served the airline with a strike notice. The cash-strapped airline saying that more than 900 staff could be affected by restructuring as unions demanded a wage increase.

Sacca president Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi said the unions rejected the airline’s explanation that it cannot meet their demands due to a lack of funds.

READ MORE: ‘Mother Of All Strikes’ Over Planned SAA Retrenchment

Nsibanyoni-Mugambi said in 2015 workers were retrenched and the same reasons were given.

She said the process failed to deliver results because management was retrenching again.

Spokesperson Tlali Tlali said that during negotiations with the unions, the airline offered a 5.9% increase, but they demanded an 8% increase.

“SAA attempted to dissuade the unions from embarking on industrial action by providing firm commitment dates to SAA’s offer of 5.9%. Discussions are continuing to resolve the wage matter at the time of issuing the statement.

“SAA will spare no effort to work jointly with the labour unions to find solutions that accommodate the employee demands, safeguard the business and return operations to normal.”

Tlali urged customers not to go to their departure airports during the disruption.

He said only flights operated by the airline would be affected.

The alines said this was to ensure that the customers do not face the stress of being stranded on these days.

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SAA has, however, clarified that partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango and SA Airlink would not be affected by the cancellations.

SAA said that the strike would hurt the already cash-strapped airline with estimated losses of more than R50 million per day.

“We do not want to underestimate the impact this particular decision will have on the airline. We operate approximately 104 flights a day and when you look at the revenue that we raise, it is approximately R52 million per day. The strike will have a serious impact financially and operationally on us.” said Tlali.

Tlali added that a late-night meeting to avert a strike was not successful.

“We decided that under the circumstances, the best thing to do was to cancel flights and to give our customers minimum reasonable notice in order for them to explore alternative travel arrangements.”

SAA said that passengers affected by the cancellation of flights would either be refunded, accommodated on other airlines or have their flights rescheduled.

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