News / South Africa / Protests

2 minute read
13 Oct 2021
8:10 am

Wage cuts: SAA open to dialogue with protesting cabin crew


SAA said it would take note of the union’s grievances.

Photo: iStock

South African Airways (SAA) is open to dialogue with the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) following a picket at the airline’s Kempton Park offices.

SAA strike

Unfair working conditions

According to reports, SACCA is picketing against, amongst others, alleged unfair working conditions, 35% wage cuts to workers and the structure of SAA’s management.

“SAA [interim] CEO, Thomas Kgokolo, spent a lot of time with staffing groups prior to restart and recognises the hard work and dedication that cabin crew members have shown in the time leading to the carrier’s relaunch and thanks staff in this respect.”

“The airline looks forward to a positive and strengthening relationship with the SACCA and is always open to constructive dialogue,” SAA said in a statement.

Protest action noted

The airline said it also takes note of the union’s grievances.

“While SAA recognises and respects the rights of people to protest, the carrier is not able to revert to prior agreements reached before business rescue”.

The airline said it notes the protest action by SACAA on a dispute with regards to terms and conditions of employment.

The protest action comes at least three weeks after the airline took to the skies after being grounded for 18 months due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and going through a business rescue process.

Flights to continue as normal

According to SAA, all unions were consulted about the future of the airline during that process.

“During the hiatus, SAA consulted widely with all stakeholders including staff associations and unions and is confident that all new agreements reached with parties either in a collective or individual capacity were negotiated fairly and equitably,” SAA said.

The airline has moved to assure customers that flight services will continue as normal.

“SAA assures its customers that business continues unhindered and operational schedules are unaffected by this protest,” it said. 

‘Slavery conditions

As reported previously, SAA workers accused the airline’s management of subjecting them to “slavery conditions” after wages were cut by more than 30%.

The workers, who are represented by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca), are currently picketing outside SAA’s office in Kempton Park over dissatisfaction with their employment conditions.

The workers also expressed their unhappiness with SAA’s interim chief executive officer Thomas Kgokolo, who the unions accused of being unwilling to engage with them.

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