'If SAA meets our demands, we will be more than happy to call off strike'

The South African Airways (SAA) is bracing itself for a planned strike by unions on Friday.

The strike comes after the airline on Monday announced plans to get rid of almost a fifth of its workforce through a restructuring process.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) have indicated that they have issued the airline with the intention to demonstrate on Friday.

However, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) says it is going to court to try and stop SAA planned retrenchments and will not join the strike.

The planned restructuring process could result in more than 900 of the airline's 5,149 employees losing their jobs.

RELATED: 'Workers refuse to take job loss hit again due to SAA management failures'

Clement Manyathela on the Xolani Gwala Show chats to the Satawu spokesperson Zanele Sabela and Sacca president Zazi Nsibanyoni-Anyiam Mugambi to give further insight on the matter.

We were in talks with SAA management on Wednesday night and it is offering the same 5.9% with different timing. We have taken this to our members and the responses are not in favour of this offer.

Zazi Nsibanyoni-Anyiam Mugambi, President - Sacca

She says the unions are meeting the airline again on Thursday and they hope the strike can be averted and the unions hope that SAA management and the board can come to the party.

To go on strike was not a decision we took likely and if our demands are met, we will be more than happy to call off the strike.

Zazi Nsibanyoni-Anyiam Mugambi, President - Sacca

Sabela says Satawu is going to court to stop SAA from retrenching workers.

We are going to apply for an interdict against these retrenchments because they are unprocedural. Section 89 of the Labour Relations Act is very clear that before a company can embark on this kind of process, they need to consult all the unions and any unorganised employees in the organisation.

Zanele Sabela, Spokesperson - Satawu

She says at the labour meeting between SAA and unions, the airline didn't mention the planned restructuring.

The company did tell us the airlines finances are such that if workers do go on strike, it might have to close down. What we want is to dial back the clock to say to SAA that we need to go back to the table and talk.

Zanele Sabela, Spokesperson - Satawu

Listen below to hear what Zazi Nsibanyoni-Anyiam Mugambi had to say:

Listen below to what Zanele Sabela had to say:


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