Workers affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) have downed tools and are protesting against the South African Airways (SAA), demanding an 8% increase and job guarantee for the next three years.
The airline says it has no money and the unions have rejected its 5% increase.
Clement Manyathela on the Xolani Gwala Show chats to EWN reporters Mia Lindeque, Sifiso Zulu, Shamila Fisher, Numsa official in KwaZulu-Natal Elton Gordon and SAA customer service executive Bali Mabena
Workers are stationed at SAA workers park and had downed tools from as early as 4am. Most of the members gathered are cabin crew and technical staff members. They are saying they are not going to back down and insist that 8% is what they want and... urgent measures need to start now.— Mia Lindeque, Reporter - EWN
I spoke to Sacca president Zazi Nsibanyoni-Anyiam Mugambi who confirmed that the union has been served with a notice to appear before the CCMA on Saturday for mediation and they have agreed.— Mia Lindeque, Reporter - EWN
Zulu says some passengers have been queueing for hours at the OR Tambo International Airport.
There are employees who are in plainclothes are working and trying to assist passengers.— Sifiso Zulu, Reporter - EWN
Gordon says all Numsa affiliated workers have heeded the call to down tools at King Shaka International Airport.
There is no picketing mainly because of bad weather in KZN but other than that all our members have heeded the call. The only people that are working are either non-members or members of another union.— Elton Gordon, KwaZulu-Natal official - Numsa
The strike has made an impact in KZN as all flights have been grounded, he adds.
There is no SAA flight that is moving and the passengers that are coming through are being attended by a skeleton staff and others have been directed to other airlines.— Elton Gordon, KwaZulu-Natal official - Numsa
Fisher says the strike is not impacting services at the Cape Town International Airport.
I spoke to Colombian tourists who was scheduled to fly out to Johannesburg and they have been told that their flight will be rescheduled to Monday.— Shamila Fisher, Reporter - EWN
Mabena says there has been a cancellation of flights on Friday and Saturday and the airline has communicated to its customers.
We are acknowledging that there are some customers who might not have received our messages and maybe because they booked through travel agencies. There are plans we have put in place to make sure that customers are not further inconvenienced.— Bali Mabena, Customer service executive - SAA
She says customers who no longer wish to travel, they are allowed to cancel their bookings and will get a full refund.
Listen below to the conversation: