South African Airways: The Crisis Continues

Crippling South African Airways (SAA), has informed passengers not to turn up at airports worldwide as its two-day strike, which began on Friday, affects flights across its network.

Photo by AeroNewsX/Anselm Ranta.

This comes following an announcement made by the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) which said that their members will embark on a strike from Friday morning. South African Airlines has canceled almost all of its flights.

SAA Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Saunders said: "Passengers are advised to follow our re-accommodation travel policy to exercise their rights when flights are canceled. Customers are requested not to travel to their departure airports unless in possession of a rebooked itinerary."

The decision to strike came after the already crippled airline decided to restructure, which may lead to the loss of over 900 jobs. Additionally, members of the SACCA and NUMSA unions want better pay.

The airline attempted to dissuade the members of the SACCA and NUMSA from striking by providing them with a 5.9% increase in their salaries, but the unions turned that offer down. They demand more; an increase of 8% and better job security.

South African Airways said on Thursday that a 'no-work-no-pay' principle will apply to employees participating in the strike scheduled to start on Friday, 15 November 2019.

"Those who participate in the strike action will not be permitted back to work until the strike is over," said Martin Kemp, Acting SAA General Manager for Human Resources.

Kemp added that SAA will continue to work with the unions to find solutions that accommodate the employee demands, safeguard the business and return operations to normal.

SAA has not published its financial results since 2017 when it lost over 2700 million rands (US$18million). The airline is believed to have been making heavy losses since 2011, with the strike costing SAA 48 million rands (US$3 million) per day. According to South African media, the airline has said that it will not be able to withstand the strike without further help.

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