The EFF, in a statement, noted that it stands in solidarity with the workers who will participate in the SAA strike.
SAA strike: What’s the latest?
Members of the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) and Numsa have officially noted their intention to down tools on Friday, after numerous failed engagements between the trade unions and the airline regarding wages.
SAA spokesperson, Tlali Tlali had, on Monday, indicated in a statement that after nine meetings with trade unions, an agreement on a way forward, in terms of salary increases, was yet to be reached.
“We have clearly indicated SAA’s difficult financial situation, even though we have made progress with the implementation of the Long-term Turnaround Strategy,” he said.
According to the airline, an offer of a 5.9% salary increase, subject to the availability of funds, was made to Sacca and Numsa representatives. However, that too was declined.
“We have made repeated overtures to the unions to acknowledge the severity of the situation in which we find ourselves in and to work hand in hand with us to try and avert a worsening situation,” Acting CEO, Zuks Ramasia noted in Wednesday’s statement.
The unions, it seems, have ignored all attempts from SAA to resolve the issue amicably and made it clear that disgruntled workers will commence, as planned, with the strike from Friday, 15 November.
Addressing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), SAA Board member, Martin Kingston warned that a strike of this magnitude would cause irreparable harm to the airline.
Financially-speaking, SAA stands to lose at least R50-million per day if all of its aircraft are grounded due to protests.
EFF joins the fray: All airports will be shut down, if needs be
The EFF has thrown its weight around the whole debacle. In a statement, the political party noted that it “sends its revolutionary solidarity to all the workers of South African Airways who are facing looming job losses.”
It appears that the EFF have misunderstood the nature of the protests since it is less about the looming retrenchments and more about wage structure.
Alas, the Red Berets put the blame squarely on President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, for failing to address issues at state-owned parastatals, in their tenure, which spans — not two years like the EFF claims — but six months (excluding the interim period Ramaphosa assumed in place of the ousted Jacob Zuma).
“Ramaphosa keeps misleading the country with investment conferences that promise billions of rands that no one feels on the ground. If there are billions in investments, why is SAA planning to retrench workers?” the party exclaimed.
EFF made it clear that this protest was bigger than the woes faced by the airline’s workers. It was about protecting the country’s workers against job losses.
“If needs be, all airports must be shut down until SAA guarantees jobs for all SAA workers,” the statement concluded.