South Africa: SAA Teeters As Union Action Grounds Planes

A queue of frustrated passengers at the Port Elizabeth airport on November 15, 2019, after SAA cancelled flights.

South African Airways flights have been cancelled as a strike looms. Between proposed restructuring that could lead to mass retrenchments and deadlocks over wage negotiations, here is what you need to know about where the airline stands.

Unions warn of "the mother of all strikes", with more than 3,000 South African Airways workers planning to disrupt operations starting on Friday 15 November.

The indefinite strike, planned by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca), comes after wage negotiations with airline broke down.

"We have noted with concern a call for a strike by the South African Cabin Crew Association and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa to begin on Friday. We have offered employees, through their unions, a 5.9% salary increase subject to the availability of funds," said acting CEO Zuks Ramasia.

"The strike is going to exacerbate rather than ameliorate our problem and will result in a set of circumstances from which there may well be no recovery," she said.

Union members were initially offered a 0% increase by the airline. On Thursday, the airline amended its offer to the 5.9% increase, saying it would be paid in...

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