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IFP requests Modise to schedule SAA debate

SABC News SAA 2 - IFP requests Modise to schedule SAA debate

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has requested National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to urgently schedule a debate about the embattled South African Airways (SAA).

The strike by SAA workers who are members of trade unions National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa  (NUMSA) and the South Africa Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) has entered its second day. The party says the airline cannot afford a strike of this nature as it also has an impact on the ailing economy.

The party’s Chief Whip Narend Singh says they have written a letter to Modise requesting Parliament to collectively discuss solutions to the current challenges facing SAA.  Singh also wants Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to be more forthcoming on the current and future developments of SAA during the debate.

He says it appears that various attempts to try and cripple SAA are a show of resistance to restructuring of the airline which he believes is inevitable.

On Saturday, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has been holding discussions with SAA management, SACCA and NUMSA to resolve the strike.

NUMSA’s General Secretary Irvin Jim came out during the talks to engage and greet workers and gave a brief update. He says they have not yet completed talks because management wants a union, National Transport Movement (NTM) to participate in negotiations, but they are not involved in the strike.

Meanwhile, some shuttle operators at the East London Airport in the Eastern Cape say they are counting the losses due to the ongoing strike.   They are demanding 8% salary increases while SAA is offering 5.9% .

Shuttle operator Jingles Gxoyiya and airline passenger Nomonde Silimenla have called on both parties to find a lasting solution to the matter. “As a shuttle operator you set  yourself a target  per day; now with the strike happening  you find that the number of clients you had anticipated and the amount of money coming in is reduced  drastically. The employees and employers  should find each other really quick.”

NUMSA Secretary for the East London region, Mandla  Mazwai says  they will continue with their strike action until their demands are met.

“And also we are saying no to this planned retrenchment because all these decisions, mismanagement,  it can’t be the fault of the workers. Now when they are restructuring, all these things are affecting our members. Nothing is being said about middle management and executives and their huge packages. As workers we say no until our demands are met.”

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