Talks continue at CCMA to break deadlock between unions and SAA

Talks are continuing under the CCMA's watch on Thursday, day seven of the SAA and SAA Technical strike.
Talks are continuing under the CCMA's watch on Thursday, day seven of the SAA and SAA Technical strike.
Image: 123RF/ Jaromír Chalabala

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) were on Thursday still engaged in wage talks with SAA.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said that since Wednesday the parties had been participating in mediation under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

The purpose of the mediation is to try to break the deadlock between the unions and  SAA on the strike that has been going on since last Friday.

“We have agreed to continue talks and hope that we will be able to find an acceptable compromise which suits all parties,” Hlubi-Majola added.

She said a notice would be issued once the talks had been completed.

On Wednesday, Hlubi-Majola said a secondary strike, which could have an effect on catering on board SAA planes, may be on the cards.

Addressing striking workers, she said Air Chefs, a subsidiary of SAA, had served the airline with a secondary strike notice.

“As of Tuesday, we served them with a notice of intent to embark on a secondary strike as Air Chefs, and let me tell you what effect that is going to have. It will not only affect SAA, comrades, but it will affect a lot of airlines,” said Hlubi-Majola.

“Comair has a strike certificate. We are coming after Acsa (Airports Company SA). If Acsa shuts down, none of the planes are moving,” she said.

Comair last week said it had contingency plans in place to mitigate any effect the strike may have on its flight schedules.

On Thursday, Comair said there were two different processes pertaining to Numsa and the airline. One was disputes between Comair and Numsa and the second a call by Numsa for a secondary strike.

“Numsa has been issued two certificates of non-resolution for disputes pertaining to both Comair's ground and cabin crews. Before embarking on a strike, Numsa will conduct a secret ballot of its members and thereafter give Comair 48 hours' notice. Comair has not yet received a notice of intention to strike.”

Comair’s joint CEO, Wrenelle Stander, said: “We continue to engage with all union stakeholders and are committed to reaching a win-win outcome for all parties involved, in a way that ensures business sustainability.”

Comair said Numsa had called for a secondary strike in support of the current SAA and SA Airways Technical (Saat) strike, but the airline had not yet been served the required seven days’ notice for the industrial action.

“We have contingency plans in place to mitigate the effect of the Saat strike. However, our operations are under pressure and we are experiencing disruption to our flight schedule,” Comair said.

“We are doing everything possible to keep customers informed and to minimise the effect of any strike action. Safety remains our foremost priority, while serving our customers remains our focus,” he added.

SAA, which has in the past week been operating on a skeleton staff, announced that on Thursday some of its grounded local routes would resume.

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