Domestic airline Mango has continued with “business as usual” after two unions at South African Airways (SAA) embarked on a planned strike on Friday.
Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout told News24 at OR Tambo International Airport on Friday: “I think for us, it is business as usual. Fridays are a very busy day for us normally, so it has made a busy day just busier.”
SAA on Thursday evening asked passengers who had been booked to travel on all its domestic, regional and international flights on Friday and Saturday, not to turn up at airports, but to instead follow the airline’s travel policy to exercise their rights following the cancellation of flights because of industrial action, Fin24 reported.
Mango extended its resources to assist SAA with any possible transfers during the industrial action.
“We have added a couple of extra flights. I believe that most of the flights will be absorbed and most of the seats will be absorbed by passengers, so for us largely it is business as normal,” he explained.
Bezuidenhout further added that resources are not a concern as they are “accurately matched to the demand”.
The CEO, however, shared his thoughts on the strike, calling the situation “unfortunate”, as it did not best serve the interests of both parties.
“Generally, it is unfortunate when a strike is reached, it is ultimately not in the interests of the employer nor the employee.
“I would hope that the issue can be resolved fairly quickly. Again, this current situation does not aid the objectives of the employees or of SAA, who is in the midst of a turnaround,” he said.
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association announced that they would ground all SAA planes on Friday.
The two unions, representing more than 3,000 staff members at SAA, said the strike was to protest against plans to fire 944 employees, and the carrier’s failure to meet their pay demands, Fin24 reported.
According to the unions, SAA is offering a 5.9% wage increase, to be paid from March 2020. Unions want an 8% wage increase across the board, to be paid on December 13, 2019.