Mukoni Ratshitanga
5 minute read
22 Nov 2019
6:28 am

SAA strike: lessons from history and faraway places

Mukoni Ratshitanga

Like the British mines, eventually privatised in 1994, is the strike not hastening the collapse of the airline?

SACCA and NUMSA members picket outside SAA Headquarters in Kempton Park, 15 November 2019. Picture: Neil McCartney

There is something macabre about deceptive rationalisations that result in the recurrence of German philosopher Friedrich Hegel’s cynical view: “Experience and history teaches us … that people and governments have never learned anything from history or acted on principles deduced from it.” The current strike action led by the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) at South African Airways (SAA), now entering its eighth day, arguably falls into such fatalistic categories. Let us compare the strike with another, which took place in a far-away country at an earlier period –...