23 January 2013

South Africa: Operations At SAA Continue As Normal

Pretoria — Contingency plans put in motion by South African Airways (SAA) have ensured that operations continue as normal, with strike action not having an impact on the airline.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said that even though the National Transport Movement (NTM) had embarked on a strike, which began last Friday, contingency plans have ensured that the airline's operations remain intact.

"We have activated contingency plans aimed at ensuring that the airline's operations remain intact and that no customers and passengers are inconvenienced. So far, our contingency plans have ensured that all our flight schedules and other operations continue as per the norm. The entire SAA group has not been affected by the strike at all," said Tlali.

On Monday, SAA had not consolidated data on the number of employees who did not report for duty as a result of the strike.

NTM wants SAA to recognise it. The airline, however, says 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.

"There is a rational basis for SAA's decision to deny NTM recognition. It is important that all requirements leading to that recognition are dispensed with. There is simply nothing like partial recognition," said Tlali.

The airline rejected claims made by the union that flights have been delayed or cancelled as a result of the strike.

"Calls made to support the strike have attracted negligible numbers of less than 100 people demonstrating and picketing just outside SAA's head office," said Tlali.

The airline said that if NTM has the requisite numbers, they must prove that claim to an independent third party. This includes the formula used to calculate the threshold they must meet, which refers to the relevant employee categories.

"None of their representatives have challenged the outcomes of the verification process conducted by the CCMA in relation to the employee numbers. It is the reality they probably wish never existed," said Tlali.

SAA remains hopeful that a resolution to the dispute is found sooner rather than later.

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