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South African workers’ unions plan to intensify ongoing SAA strike

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On Sunday, 17 November 2019, South African Airway’s workers vowed to continue with their work stoppage and expand the industrial action to include other employees from the aviation sector.

The workers, who are represented by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA), met with the SAA management on Saturday, 16 November 2019, to discuss their differences, but the meeting ended without solving the issues.

NUMSA took a swipe against SAA management on Sunday, 17 November 2019, for alleged insincerity during talks to resolve the impasse.

The airline has offered employees a salary hike of 5.9 percent against demands for an eight percent increment.

The question of outsourcing is another dispute, with the workers saying there was no need for the airline to use outsiders when it had enough expertise within the organisation. 

SAA’s announcement to retrench 1,000 workers is an additional bone of contention with the workers. They have also raised concerns with procurement procedures at the airline, which they claim has left the flag carrier at the mercy of over-pricing by unscrupulous suppliers in collusion with corrupt managers.

Due to the failure of the talks, NUMSA said it would embark on an urgent secondary strike that would bring the country’s aviation sector to a standstill.

This would include other subsidiaries of the SAA, NUMSA spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, said in a statement.

“Both NUMSA and SACCA have resolved that the strike must be intensified… NUMSA is in the process of consulting workers for a secondary strike in aviation. We have begun this consultation with various entities,” Hlubi-Majola said.

She said the expanded strike is expected to include employees from the Civil Aviation Authority, Airports Company South Africa and airlines such as Mango, Flysafair, SAA Express and Comair. 

– APA 

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