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SAA to offer striking employees revised wage hike at emergency meeting

In bid to avert strike.
Image: Shutterstock

South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday because of a pending strike by a majority of employees but said on Thursday it hoped its revised wage offer would avert the walkout at the state-run carrier.

SAA has failed to turn a profit since 2011 while relying on state bailouts to fund a growing financing gap.

The airline is also without a permanent chief executive and has yet to file annual results for the two most recent financial years because of concerns about its viability as a business.

Unions representing about 3,000 of its 5,000-member workforce said on Wednesday that cabin crew and other workers would strike over wages and plans to the cut more than 900 jobs.

The carrier said on Wednesday it might never recover if the strike went ahead.

Unions are demanding an immediate 8% increase, and on Thursday SAA after late night negotiations said it would offer a 5.9% raise from April when it hopes to have secured the necessary funding.

“The increase is not immediately available. We can only implement it once we have secured funding,” SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said during a live interview on television news channel eNCA.

“We have a meeting scheduled for today at 2 o’clock and we are hopeful we will be able to resolve the issue … It will include all the unions … and if the meeting yields positive results we will then activate some contingency plans that will allow us to reinstate flights,” said Tlali.

Only flights directly operated by SAA would be affected. Flights by subsidiaries Mango, SA Express and SA Air Link, as well as those of private operators, would not be affected, SAA said.

The airline said it expected unions to respond at an emergency meeting at 1200 GMT.

Unions said the strike would begin at 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Friday and go on indefinitely. They are calling on SAA’s check-in, ticket sales, head office, technical staff and ground staff to take part.

Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi, president of the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) that is leading the strike with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), said the offer was unacceptable.

“They really need to get serious, 5.9% simply won’t cut it. It’s just over 1% more that we are asking for and we think its attainable, so last night we asked SAA (negotiators) to go and get a fresh mandate from management,” said Nsibanyoni-Mugambi.

Numsa spokeswoman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the union was still consulting its members on whether to accept or reject the revised wage offer.

SAA airline flies around 6.8 million passengers annually to six continents with routes to New York, London and Hong Kong among its eight international offerings.


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How many regime changes has Tlali Tlali survived? He must be an epic BS spinner

Gordhan…what are you speak with fork tongue

This has Pravin’s yellow bellied signature all over it. Did the Govt get taxpayers approval for this, after all, it is our money they are spending. If Govt caves in on this one, we are officially doomed. This was their chance to show a bit of backbone and to do the right thing for the greater good of the country and ALL its citizens.

Fish rots from the head. Jamnadas must go

I’ve been thinking recently: was Gordhan REALLY a good finance minister? Or did the Treasury civil servants do the heavy lifting and he provided the affable public face for it all?

Nothing he’s done since he was axed as Finance Minister persuades me he understands much about finance or governance at all. Especially since his unlawful meddling in the retrenchment process at Eskom made a bad situation worse.

Let them strike and retrench all of them

They are all in cahoots man.

Just a smokescreen to fleece more money out of the taxpayer. That is for management and labour.

Commie chommies.

Do they think the taxpayer is going to go pfew!!! Well done strike averted at any cost.

I suspect the taxpayer is getting very ……. of this lot.

SAA should be scrapped and the self-entitled “workers” should be let go. How many workers in SOE’s have not received above inflation increases in salaries over the last 25 years? The tax-payers are the ones paying for the salary increases every year.
SAA should not be allowed to continue. Kill it once and for all.

Austrian Airlines forsaw a loss this financial year. They have now retrenched 800 staff. No messing around, and no strikes. Business is business.

African problems require African solutions, which we may never understand. I don’t.

You are right. The African solution to socialist labour issues at airlines is the non-unionised taxi driver who drives his passengers from Johburg to Cape Town in 24 hours. The results are the same, it is only the duration of the trip that changes. O yes…and the chickens on your lap.

Nope, there’s no need to try and understand it. The SAME financial & economic solutions are applied across the globe.

Africa’s solution is….err…do you see the resultant poverty on the continent?

As usual, management will back down and agree to above inflation salary increases and no retrenchments. After all, its not their (i.e. management’s) money; its taxpayers’ money via another bailout. They’ve really no choice here. The unions control the government and thus the executive of the SOEs.
But Moody’s must be watching this. It will confirm what they said in their recent appraisal.

How can a bankrupt, loss making enterprise ” make an offer of more money ” ?
It’s a circus. They really don’t have a clue.

Here is a chance for the El Presidente to show he has a real set of OOs.

Shut it down, make a statement that will put fear into every lazy striking worker.

If he does not do it I kitty the fool who will have to when the IMF grants SA a bailout with amazing conditions.

SAA is not profitable yet offers 5.9%??!! What in the world is going on??? Can Pravin please explain this to us taxpayers??!! Shut the airline down!! For goodness sake, why is government so scared of these unions? Show abit of muscle and tell them to f$%# off!!

….no possible. The corrupt ANC connected elite will not be able to make a living.

ANC and unions are the same entity. Cant fire your own voters. Taxpayers,they’re not all ANC… See we have a classist problem.

One word – CAPITULATION!!!

“The increase is not immediately available. We can only implement it once we have secured funding,” SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said during a live interview on television news channel eNCA.

Hoe de mo*r do you even talk about a revised offer without having secured the funding?

Every time an opportunity is lost to draw a line in the sand makes it more difficult to do so in future. It’s the old adage – ‘what you accept today becomes tomorrow’s standard’.

In my mind this is a good thing, I can only hope that this leads to the closure of SAA and the drain it has been on the taxpayers for who knows how long. Sell it to China for all I care.

Oh bloody hell, just close it down.

No increase. Offer them a profit share – or nothing.

If anyone at SAA deserves fair pay it’s the pilots, attendants and other staff. The problem money wasters are the board who appointment useless executives,the executives who award themselves inflated bonuses and award contracts to useless contractors and lastly the contractors who take contracts and know nothing.

P.S I’m not a socialist!

Let me explain those 2 strange looking grey/red circles (in the supplied aircraft image) on the side of fuselage:

What appears to be some sort of access port, are in fact the AOA (Angle of Attack) vanes. Most planes have at least 3 of 4 such sensor-vanes. Linked to flight-computer to give stall-warning to pilots.

Further to the bottom left of image is a red-lined rectangle shape…with grey oblong sensor. That is known as the “static port” for air-pressure equipment…which gives the cockpit altimeter it’s readings, the VSI (vertical speed indicator), airspeed & Mach-number data. This port must always be kept clean & clear of ice.

Can’t comment much about SAA strike action. All I know is:

“You cannot have low-tech people working on high-tech equipment”

Eventually, this will come to an end, and their children will suffer for the ignorance. That is unfortunate.

Please note that we must also give everybody free healthcare. Please don’t forget about that!

This is the litmus test. If the government loses this one, SA is as good as ruined. If the unions lose and government retrenches those 944 wekkas and tells the rest to get back to work or else, the country stands at least a small chance of eventual recovery.

End of comments.





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