SAA strike decision ‘won’t be taken lightly’

Transport workers in pay negotiations with South African Airways (SAA) said on Wednesday their 4 000 members would not take the decision to strike lightly.

”We are not strike hungry here. We have made the sacrifice in terms of wage freezes. The decision to strike is not one we would take lightly,” said Randall Howard, secretary general of the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu).

The union told reporters that SAA had paid out over R72-million in retention payments to senior management and this ”bad faith marred the negotiations” when workers themselves had taken pay freezes to help bring the national carrier to profitability.

”SAA is offering with one hand while taking away with the other. The employer offered us 7% across the board or 8% on basic salary excluding medical aid … if we don’t accept they will revert to 6% at cost-to-company. We will continue with the deadlock with management,” said Howard.

He told reporters in Johannesburg the union had lowered its 18% total cost-to-company demand to 12%.

Satawu declared a dispute on April 8, which will go to arbitration. The first round will take place on April 30 after which the union will consider strike action. — Sapa

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