SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

South Africa: SAA Hopeful of Resolution to Strike Action

Pretoria — Claims by the National Transport Movement (NTM) that flights at South African Airways (SAA) have been delayed or cancelled are untrue, said the national carrier, adding that it remains hopeful of a resolution to the strike action.

This as the NTM embarked on industrial action on Friday.

The movement wants SAA to recognise it. However, the airline said it was not refusing to grant the union recognition saying that the decision not to grant recognition to the union is based on the fact that the union has not dispensed all the requirements to be able to enjoy recognition.

"NTM relies on a claim that its membership is more than 1 300. Their membership is inclusive of employee categories that are not provided for in the bargaining forum constitution. They have included managers and contract employees in their head count. They have not met the requisite threshold of 30% or 1 220 non-managerial permanent employees," said SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali.

Earlier on Friday, Tlali said a handful of individuals had gathered at the parking area, outside SAA's head office and were from time to time addressed by their leaders. They were picketing outside SAA offices in Kempton Park.

SAA said it has communicated to all staff across the board, providing rationale behind its decision in relation to the NTM issue.

As of Monday [14 January], said Tlali UASA which represents workers in the diamond, motor, manufacturing, and transport, mining and engineering industries had 1266 members whilst SATAWU was at 1600.These numbers are for members that fall within the bargaining forum.

On Friday, the airline re-emphasised that claims of flights being delayed or cancelled were misleading.

"SAA has activated contingency plans that are intended to avoid disruptions to the airline's operations and avoid causing inconvenience to customers as a result of the strike. The salient details of the contingency plans cannot be shared as doing so could negatively affect their effectiveness.

"We remain hopeful that all parties will soon find a resolution to this dispute sooner rather later," explained Tlali.

In December, SAA met with NTM at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to conclude the verification process that would allow the union to be recognised by the airline.

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