Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
14 Nov 2019
11:58 am

SAA being held to ransom by unions, says the DA

Citizen Reporter

The party says that besides placing the airline under business rescue, another solution would be the partial or full privatisation of the airline.

The government will press ahead with a new lifeline for the national carrier. Image: Shutterstock

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said South African Airways (SAA) is being held to ransom by unions, namely the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and the National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa).

This after SAA announced that it had grounded all its domestic and international flights for Friday and Saturday following threats of industrial action from the unions.

Sacca and Numsa have stated that they will initiate a strike after SAA announced that it may have to retrench workers as part of its turnaround strategy.

DA MP Natasha Mazzone said: “SAA is playing into the hands of opportunistic unions as they continue to hold the national carrier to ransom.

“The defunct and cash-strapped SAA will undoubtedly remain on a collision course if its leadership structures allow unions to drive the entity deeper into the ground with these actions.”

Mazzone added that SAA would lose trust from consumers by bowing to the unions’ threats of industrial action.

“Even more harrowing is the fact that certain foreign states will not allow SAA to continue flying into their airspaces if it displays continued degrees of uncertain viability.”

ALSO READ: SAA given 48-hour notice for ‘mother of all strikes’

Mazzone said that according to reports on Thursday, the decision by SAA to ground its flights would cost the airline over R50 million per day.

“This loss in revenue is compounded by the fact that the airline is already technically insolvent, without sufficient capital to fund its daily operations. It is currently operational solely due to continued state handouts, much like Eskom.”

Mazzone said the DA called on Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to place SAA under business rescue and to immediately shutdown SA Express.

This, she added, would mean SAA would somewhat be able to mitigate the extensive impact of its planned job cuts.

SAA plans to cut 944 jobs in order to bring its runaway costs under control, Mazzone said, adding that that figure translated to almost a fifth of its workforce.

Another solution would be the partial or full privatisation of the airline, Mazzone said.

“This would prevent SAA from having any further negative impact on South Africa’s economy. These decisions must be accompanied by strict reforms which will also prevent unions from holding the airline, and to an extent, South Africa’s economy, to ransom.”

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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