South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday because of a pending strike by a majority of employees but said on Thursday it hoped its revised wage offer would avert the walkout at the state-run carrier.
SAA has failed to turn a profit since 2011 while relying on state bailouts to fund a growing financing gap. The airline is also without a permanent chief executive and has yet to file annual results for the two most recent financial years because of concerns about its viability as a business.
Unions representing about 3 000 of its 5 000-member workforces said on Wednesday that cabin crew and other workers would strike over wages and plans to cut more than 900 jobs.
The carrier said on Wednesday it might never recover if the strike went ahead. Unions are demanding an immediate 8% increase, and after late night negotiations SAA said on Thursday it would offer a 5.9% raise from April when it hopes to have secured the necessary funding.
“The increase is not immediately available. We can only implement it once we have secured funding,” SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said during a live interview on television news channel eNCA.
“We have a meeting scheduled for today at 2 o’clock and we are hopeful we will be able to resolve the issue … It will include all the unions … and if the meeting yields positive results we will then activate some contingency plans that will allow us to reinstate flights,” said Tlali.
Only flights directly operated by SAA would be affected. Flights by subsidiaries Mango, SA Express and SA Air Link, as well as those of private operators, would not be affected, SAA said. The airline said it expected unions to respond at an emergency meeting at 1200 GMT
In other news – Chicco Twala, father to Longwe who was present when Senzo Meyiwa was killed Speaks
Veteran musician Chicco Twala has applauded police for their investigation into the Senzo Meyiwa murder case so far and told TshisaLIVE that people need to stop spreading “fake stories” and give authorities space to work.
The former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper was shot dead at Kelly’s mother’s home in Vosloorus in 2014 in an alleged botched robbery. The killer is yet to be arrested. Read more