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SAA heads to labour court as 'more strikers return to work'

19 November 2019 - 15:59 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
SAA will approach the labour court to interdict unions from making further demands during the ongoing strike.
SAA will approach the labour court to interdict unions from making further demands during the ongoing strike.
Image: THE TIMES/MOELETSI MABE

SAA acting chief executive Zuks Ramasia says the airline will approach the labour court to interdict the National Union of Metalworkers  (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) from making further demands.

Numsa and Sacca are demanding a wage increase of 8%, while the airline is offering a 5.9% increase from March 2020.

According to Ramasia, the two unions have made demands which were not part of the initial dispute.

"We are going to approach the labour court to interdict demands which were not part of the initial dispute because they are not procedural or compliant with the picketing rules," said Ramasia.

She said the airline had, since Tuesday, resumed regional flights to Accra, Lagos, Maputo, Harare and Windhoek.

Domestic flights were still being operated by Airlink and Mango, she said.

“SAA is on the road of operational recovery. SAA would like to reconfirm that we have resumed our operations, particularly on the international routes. We have all our international flights operating and we have started with a limited number of our regional flights,” said Ramasia.

She called on striking employees to return to work.

“We call on the remainder of our employees on strike to return to work for the sake of our customers, who are paying our salaries.

“We’d like to thank all our employees who are back at work. A growing number of our employees are not supporting the strike. More workers are coming back to work,” Ramasia said.

She said the company had invoked a "no work, no pay" principle.

“We regret the inconvenience that has been caused to our loyal customers. We are going to ramp up the domestic and regional flights.”

Referring to statements made by the unions that SAA was using inexperienced personnel to repair aircraft, Ramasia said: "Our operations are fully compliant. When we grounded operations we reported to the civil aviation authority, and when we commenced we reported to the civil aviation authority because we wanted to be certain we had all the required crew who are qualified to be able to operate".

"We are operating very responsibly because safety is paramount," she said.

"The statement made by Sacca on safety is regrettable and untruthful. We are taking appropriate legal action," Ramasia added.

She condemned threats made to non-striking workers.


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