It’s been barely three weeks since South African Airways (SAA) took to the air again (after being grounded for 16 months), and there already seems to be some trouble in paradise. The South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) has been picketing at the airline’s Kempton Park offices.
SACCA members are reportedly protesting against alleged unfair working conditions, 35% wage cuts to workers and the structure of SAA’s management, amongst other grievances. SAA said in a statement that it is open to dialogue:
“SAA [interim] CEO, Thomas Kgokolo, spent a lot of time with staffing groups prior to restart and recognises the hard work and dedication that cabin crew members have shown in the time leading to the carrier’s relaunch and thanks staff in this respect. The airline looks forward to positive and strengthening relationship with the SACCA and is always open to constructive dialogue.”
SAA said it has also taken note of the union’s grievances.
“While SAA recognises and respects the rights of people to protest, the carrier is not able to revert to prior agreements reached before business rescue. SAA notes the protest action by SACAA on a dispute with regards to terms and conditions of employment.”
The protest action comes less than a month after the airline took to the skies again, after being grounded due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and going through a business rescue process.
According to SAA, all unions were consulted about the future of the airline during that process.
“During the hiatus SAA consulted widely with all stakeholders including staff associations and unions and is confident that all new agreements reached with parties either in a collective or individual capacity were negotiated fairly and equitably,” SAA said.
The airline has moved to assure customers that flight services will continue as normal.
“SAA assures its customers that business continues unhindered and operational schedules are unaffected by this protest.”
SAA Flies to Mauritius against from November
In separate news, SAA has announced that it will be flying to Mauritius from 21 November. Direct flights from Johannesburg to the “sandy white beaches, tropical reefs and blue lagoons” of Mauritius will depart Wednesdays and Sundays.
Sources: SAnews.gov.za and SAA