The department of labour has intervened in Friday’s South African Airways strike, the United Association of SA (Uasa) said. General manager Andre Venter said this followed a request to Labour Minister Menbathisi Mdladlana to put pressure on SAA management to resume wage talks.
The ministry agreed and called on SAA and the unions to engage in negotiations. Venter said Uasa had been in contact with SAA management and the protocols related to such a meeting were being ironed out.
The request to the minister was made by the Federation of Unions of SA, Uasa’s umbrella body. Venter said meetings scheduled for 14:00 and 17:00 respectively on Thursday had been cancelled, with SAA saying it was sticking to its latest pay offer. Uasa is demanding an 8% increase while SAA has offered 5%.
The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) said on Friday it had been approached to intervene, in terms of Section 150 of the Labour Relations Act. Conciliator Mahomed Rajah was on standby for this purpose, CCMA spokesperson Lusanda Myoli said. Transport and Allied Workers Union spokesperson Ronnie Mamba confirmed the union had been approached by the CCMA and were considering its response.
Meanwhile, the strike, which has seen 31 domestic flights and 12 international flights cancelled, would continue. These included Nairobi, Sao Paulo, Harare, Windhoek, Victoria Falls and two flights to Lagos. The next flight update was expected around lunch time.
A group of about 500 union members were also picketing outside SAA headquarters. SAA passengers have been advised to make alternative travel arrangements.