SAA employees to embark on strike over wages

The airline had undermined wage negotiations, South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) spokesperson Vincent Masoga said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This … recalcitrant management of SAA has unilaterally implemented their rejected initial offer of 6.23% of basic salary and all other benefits while the negotiations were still ongoing," he said.

He said last week unions put the strike on hold after SAA offered a 6.5% increase across the board, with all benefits.

Workers were considering the latest offer when the airline put into effect the rejected amount, he said.

Masoga said workers had reverted to their initial demand of an 8.33% increase in salary, housing allowance, medical aid and meal allowance.

SAA spokesperson Dileseng Koetle said Satawu had intended continuing the strike, despite its understanding with the airline last week. She said it had reverted its demands prior to the deadlock in conciliation at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

"This is despite parties having agreed in principle to the 6.5% across the board offer, subject to all parties obtaining a further mandate on this offer," Koetle said.

"SAA is of the view that Satawu is deliberately misrepresenting facts with the intention of misleading its members and inciting a section of the airline's employees to embark on the strike action on matters that are not relating to the wage negotiation process."

'Misunderstanding and miscommunication'
She said should an agreement be reached on the offer, employees would receive the difference between the 6.23% increase and the 6.5% increase across the board, at the next pay date.

"The misunderstanding and miscommunication presented by Satawu is regrettable, particularly pertaining to the bulk of employees who have indicated their willingness to accept the above offer," Koetle said.

"Despite Satawu's regrettable intention, SAA will monitor the situation and should the need arise; the airline will activate its contingency plans in order to ensure business continuity."

She said these measures would be there to try and "avoid causing inconvenience to customers and passengers".

Masoga also claimed the SAA was treating workers unfairly, and gave preferential treatment to pilots. He said SAA pilots had an "evergreen" agreement that awarded them a 15% increase and segregated hotel accommodation, as "pilots refuse to stay on the same floor with cabin crew".

"Our biggest concern is that this kind of a set-up perpetuates racial inequalities as 98% of the SAA pilots are white and there seems to be no space at all for new entrants." – Sapa

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Guest Author

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday