Monday, 18 November 2019 19:41

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said it has found no evidence that South African Airways (SAA) is using unqualified personnel in the maintenance, repair of aircraft and in the cabin crew area.

SACAA was reacting to the allegations by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa(NUMSA) that SAA flights are unsafe as a result of the crippling strike at SAA.

However a secondary strike could be on the cards for the aviation sector after both National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association said they are holding talks with other unions to join the strike.

The Acting Chief Executive of SAA,Zuki Ramasia "SAA is mindful of its obligations to comply with all regulations and continue to ensure safe and secure operations and will therefore maintain the required levels of personnel, including oversight post holders and necessary compliance training during this strike period". 

In a media statement Ramasia said that SAA is concerned about NUMSA’s intention to start consultation with all sector players for a full-on aviation strike. 

The Acting Chief Executive said, "The intent of a secondary strike is to cause disruption, bring all airport operations to a halt and create huge damage to the South African economy. A secondary strike will affect the competitiveness of the South African economy as a whole". 

SAA has also condemned the intimidation of employees who have decided to work and the airline said that they will not tolerate those seeking to intimidate those wishing to report for duty.

The CCMA met with the company and the unions on Saturday in terms of the Section 150 process following SAA’s request to conciliate the salary increment impasse between SAA and SACCA/ NUMSA and NTM but talks were deadlocked.

According to the airline, they cannot afford to pay any salary increases. However, they have offered the unions a 5.9 percent salary increase effective in the March 2020 pay month. In addition, the company will pay the first six months back-pay, from 1 April 2019 to 30 September 2019, in March 2020; and the remaining six months back-pay in April 2020, provided that SAA has received funds to do so.

NUMSA and SACCA have demanded an 8 percent salary increase which the airline has called only lawful demand made by NUMSA and SACCA under the current strike notices.