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Union hints at 'total shutdown' if SAA cuts a fifth of staff

12 November 2019 - 08:50 By TimesLIVE
More than 900 employees could be affected.
More than 900 employees could be affected.
Image: SAA

Plans by cash-strapped SA Airways (SAA) to cut up to a fifth of its workforce could see unions join forces to strike.

On Monday, acting CEO Zuks Ramasia said: “It is difficult to estimate the number of employees who may eventually be impacted. No final decision will be taken until the consultation process is concluded. However, it is estimated that approximately 944 employees may be affected.

“These hard decisions were necessary to put SAA on a more sustainable footing, while ensuring we continue to offer customers the best service. It is a matter of great regret that we will part ways with some loyal colleagues.”

Mashudu Raphetha, president of the National Transport Movement, told The Money Show on Radio 702 on Monday evening that it was time to unite with sister unions, because the airline had decided to “abandon ordinary workers”.

“We anticipated that they will be bringing this retrenchment notice. We know that it is a ploy to scare our members. SAA has increased salaries for pilots and decided to abandon the ordinary workers,” he said.

The union has rejected a wage offer, which it said was subject to a cash injection by government.

“We are engaging in a ballot on Wednesday and we will also be engaging with our sister unions ... to also join. It’s time now to unite ... The company is not reasonable, it is not listening to us ... If they continue bringing tactics like this then our members will push us towards ensuring that we have a total shutdown of SAA.”