With a minimum of R52 million being lost daily due to the protest action by unions for increased salaries and job security, South African Airways (SAA) is steadily headed for financial ruin as the airline may not even pay salaries at the end of the month.
Unions are preparing for day two of negotiations with SAA management, as well as the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, and have confirmed that no information of the negotiations will be made public.
SAA board member Martin Kingston highlighted during a 702 interview the magnitude of financial losses due to the continued protests.
He said a minimum of R52 million was lost due to the picket, although it could be more depending on the duration of the strike. There were other dire factors which would harm the airline’s recovery, such as customers being nervous about booking with the airline in the future.
He said the airline was in contact with national treasury due to the apparent crises, and plans were being put in place to restructure the organisation, but as the strike continues into day seven, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan continues to play hardball on a bailout.
The National Union for Metal Workers (Numsa) alongside the South African Cabin Crew Association, as well as the SA Federation of Trade Unions, have made it clear they plan to intensify the strike action following a decision by SAA to backtrack on a 6.5% offer which was made during initial negotiations.
This has resulted in Numsa serving catering company AirChefs with a secondary strike notice on Wednesday. The secondary strike, which could have an impact on catering, may begin on Monday if unions and management fail to agree on a way forward during negotiations.