The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) have indicated that their members will not be joining the South African Airways (SAA) strike, but say they are opposed to the national carrier’s announcement of a restructuring process that could lead to retrenchments.

This comes after the South African Cabin Crew Association and the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa announced that their members will embark on industrial action on Friday morning over a wage dispute.

SAA has cancelled all its domestic, regional and international flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

All flights operated on SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink and codeshare partners will not be affected.

Satawu Spokesperson, Zanele Sabela says they will approach the Labour Court to interdict the possible retrenchment process.

“Today (Thursday), we will be approaching the Labour Court to get an urgent interdict against section 189 from going through. Even if we do go on strike, at the end of the day, we have to discuss this with SAA management. How do we stop these retrenchments from going ahead? We are going to end up at the table so why not go there instead of strike?”

Meanwhile, SAA has advised its customers to contact its call centre or their travel agents to make alternate flight arrangements or request a refund.

SAA Interim Chief Financial Officer, Deon Fredericks says they do not want this to result in a chaotic environment at airports.

Fredericks says, “What we want to make sure of is that the customer is not inconvenienced. We will assist them to find alternative arrangements. Our call centres are open at this stage so they can call to see what is available. Where they have booked through an agent they need to approach the agents and the agents have been informed. We have also informed all our alliance partners and are working with them on how we can accommodate them. We don’t want a case where we see chaos at the airport because that creates an additional risk.”

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