South African Airways (SAA) workers, represented by the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), embarked on a picket outside SAA’s office in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, on Tuesday morning.
The picket relates to what they consider to be unfair working conditions.
The unions say workers are not happy with the 35% cut to their wages, a bloated management structure, and the airline’s CEO – who they say is unwilling to engage with the unions.
SACCA President, Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi also says the temporary training lay-off scheme detailed in the business rescue plan, as a process in which a thousand employees would be trained and re-absorbed into the new airline, remains a non-starter.
“We are not happy with the conditions of employment that SAA has put to us. This includes the placement of people on training layoffs, the fact that our members have had to take a 35% wage cut while executives and management have increased their salaries,” says Nsibanyoni-Mugambi.
Nsibanyoni-Mugambi says the CEO refuses to speak to unions.
“We are not happy that VSP people are being absorbed back at a very high rate when there’s training lay off scheme people that are still employed that can be put into the available positions and the biggest concern for us is that we have a CEO that refuses to speak to unions,” adds Nsibanyoni-Mugambi.
SAA flights returned to the skies in September after being grounded since last year, 2020.
Getting ready to go the distance
It’s been a long journey for SAA employees. Seen here is Thomas Kgokolo, our interim CEO briefing the staff in preparation to receive and serve our customers on the 23 September 2021. #FlySAA#LetsGothedistance pic.twitter.com/8j6EjNhERd
— SAA – South Africa (@flysaa) September 3, 2021
The national carrier had been grounded for more than a year due to being placed under voluntary business rescue.
SAA also had to retrench thousands of workers because of financial challenges, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.