The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has called on government and South African Airways (SAA) to urgently intervene in the ongoing strike at the airline.

SAA and unions are at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

This after SAA workers who are members Numsa and the South African Cabin Crew Association embarked on a wage strike which started on Friday.

The unions are demanding an 8% salary increase while SAA is offering 5.5%, depending on the availability of funds.

Numsa General-Secretary Irvin Jim says: “We are now attending a negotiation process which will be facilitated by the CCMA. From where we are sitting, we think that SAA can be saved and be turned around. We are of the view that some in government have taken a view that unless SAA is privatised, there can be no other solution.”

SAA has extended the cancellation of all domestic and regional flights, but says it hopes to resume international flights from Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has requested National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to urgently schedule a debate on SAA.

The party says the airliner cannot afford a strike of this nature, as it also has an impact on the ailing economy.

IFP Chief Whip Narend Singh says they have written a letter to Modise requesting Parliament to collectively discuss solutions to the current challenges facing SAA.

Singh also wants Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to be more forthcoming on the current and future developments of SAA during the debate.

He says it appears that various attempts to try and cripple SAA is a show of resistance to restructuring the airliner which he believes is inevitable.


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