SAA strike ends, but loose ends remain

SAA shutdown not just about wages, says union's Hlubi-Majola

SAA strike ends, but loose ends remain

SAA said the process to apply to lay off workers will now be deferred to end of January.

The parties agree to an increase of 5.9 percent on total cost of employment retrospective to April 1, 2019, which will be paid in the February 2020 payroll, subject to availability of funding.

The unions announced the strike shortly after the airline said it was launching a restructuring process that could affect almost 950 employees.

The nationwide strike has been called off and workers have been instructed to go back to work.

Workers belonging to another union, the National Transport Movement, which didn't participate in the strike, will receive the same 5.9% increase.

South African Airways (SAA) says it will now concentrate on strategy implementation as its services resume following a crippling strike that lasted eight days.

The section 189A LRA process, which commenced on Wednesday, 20 November 2019, will however continue for SAA management, with the next consultation meeting scheduled for Monday (25 November 2019), it said.

According to SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali - who spoke to Fin24 - the airline has not been able to secure R2-billion worth of capital needed to sustain daily operations and pay staff.

The pay talks at the national carrier have been a key test of the government's resolve to get its bloated wage bill under control and stabilize the finances of state-owned companies, which have been dogged by years of mismanagement and alleged corruption.

Besides, following a meet with the leaders of striking unions on Tuesday (November 19th) morning, the Public Enterprises Minister of the second-largest African economy, Pravin Gordhan told in a press conference, "The statement is the same, there is no more money".

But there have been some signs recently that officials are starting to take a tougher line on loss-making state entities.

SAA has pleaded for the government to sanction more state guarantees to allow it to unlock new bank loans, but so far those guarantees haven't been forthcoming. The remaining four months backpay would be paid in April 2020.

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