Parliament slams Numsa's 'reckless' SAA comments, asks for strike to end

18 November 2019 - 16:13 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Khaya Magaxa, chair of parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises, slated comments from union Numsa that the airline was not safe for passengers to use.
Khaya Magaxa, chair of parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises, slated comments from union Numsa that the airline was not safe for passengers to use.
Image: THE TIMES/MOELETSI MABE

Parliament has slammed comments made by striking unions against national carrier SAA and called for an end to the ongoing strike.

Khaya Magaxa, chair of the portfolio committee on public enterprises, slated comments from the National Union of Metalworkers  (Numsa) on Sunday that the airline was unsafe.

In a statement, Numsa said: "We are warning passengers not to fly SAA because their safety cannot be guaranteed. Our members who are safety officers and technicians are on strike. Learners with no flight experience and temporary technicians are being deployed to fly on SAA aircraft and act as safety officers. We are warning the public that if they fly SAA during this strike, they are putting their lives at risk."

Magaxa described the comments as "reckless" and said they could "sabotage the national carrier".

Workers affiliated to Numsa and the South African Cabin Crew Association downed tools on Friday in a bid to get an 8% salary increase. The strike has entered the fourth day after talks through the CCMA collapsed at the weekend.

“While the committee supports the rights of employees to strike within the confines of labour laws, it is irresponsible for the unions to make comments that the flights will be operated by short-term contracted personnel without the requisite experience,” said Magaxa.

He urged the airline and unions to find an amicable solution to the strike as it posed serious ramifications for SAA’s financial situation, the economy and tourism.

“The committee would like to appeal to workers not to damage and destroy SAA’s credibility. If the employees continue down the path of destruction, this will lead to the destruction of jobs that we seek to protect and increase,” said Magaxa.

“The SAA brand is important in ensuring improvement and profitability.”

The committee said it acknowledged the challenges faced by SAA, which were a direct result of corruption caused by state capture.  

“Workers are not responsible for the situation at the national carrier,” said Magaxa.


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