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Unions warn SAA passengers over safety

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The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) says the safety of South African Airways passengers cannot be guaranteed.

This after the union said the airline had deployed interns and temporary technicians who have no experience to fly on SAA aircraft to act as safety officers.

Negotiations between unions and SAA management have deadlocked yet again despite intervention from the CCMA yesterday. NUMSA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola has warned the public not to use SAA aircraft, especially during the strike.

“We are warning all passengers not to fly SAA because your safety is not guaranteed. Our members who are safety officers and technicians are on strike. We are warning the public that if they fly SAA during this strike they are putting their lives at risk. We ask the Civil Aviation Authority how they can allow such a situation to exist by deliberately placing the lives of the public at risk”

The South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) have vowed to resist retrenchments at South African Airways until issues of state capture at the airline are resolved.

Earlier, the unions demanded the intervention of government in their negotiations with South African Airways. SACCA and NUMSA want the ministers of Finance and Economic Development – Tito Mboweni and Ebrahim Patel – to intervene in the strike at SAA.

The unions briefed the media in Johannesburg on Sunday, on the status of negotiations with SAA at the CCMA.

SAA members who belong to the union embarked on a strike which started on Friday. They are demanding an eight per cent wage increase while SAA is offering five-point-nine per cent, depending on the availability of funds.

NUMSA general-secretary Irvin Jim explains stakeholders should seek ways of rescuing SAA.

“We think that SAA can be saved and be turned around. We’re of the view that some in government have taken a view that unless SAA is privatised, there can be no other solution.”

Meanwhile, SACCA spokesperson Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi says they hope to reach an agreement that will favour the workers.

“We’ve already said we’re hopeful that a resolution will be found, but given the action of management in the past few days, we’re not so hopeful that they’re gonna come to the party.

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