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Unions threaten 'mother of all strikes' at SAA from Friday morning

Two unions on Wednesday said they had issued SAA with a strike notice.
Two unions on Wednesday said they had issued SAA with a strike notice.
Image: Getty Images

National carrier SAA has been hit with a strike notice.

SAA acting chair Thandeka Mgoduso confirmed receiving the notice during a presentation before parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday.

SAA board member Martin Kingston indicated during the meeting that any strike would be catastrophic for SAA, costing it R50m a day.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association confirmed that had issued SAA "with a 48-hour notice to strike".

"What this means is that we will be embarking on the mother of all strikes at all SAA and SAAT [SAA Technical] operations nationally, beginning on Friday morning November 15 at 4am," the unions said in a joint statement.

"Participating in the strike will be members of SAA cabin crew, check-in, ticket sales, head office, technical staff and ground staff.

"There are likely to be disruptions and therefore we advise the public to make alternative arrangements if they have booked flights with SAA."

This comes after the airline on Monday announced that it had informed 5,146 employees it was embarking on a restructuring process that could lead to job losses, something the unions slammed.

They claimed that no such consultation took place and that they found out about the plan in media reports.

The unions described the move as a threat to get workers to stop making demands for wage increases and for the removal of the SAA board.

The National Transport Movement earlier accused the airline of "abandoning" ordinary workers.

Acting SAA CEO Zuks Ramasia said the restructuring was difficult but necessary in order for the airline to be on a more sustainable footing, "while ensuring we continue to offer customers the best service".

"It is a matter of great regret that we will part ways with some loyal colleagues," said Ramasia.

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