SAA strike enters second day

Despite one flight arriving at London's Heathrow Airport and one expected to have departed on Friday night, concerns remain as to how long the SAA strike will continue.

JOHANNESBURG - SAA is facing a rough weekend as a strike by more than 3,000 workers enters a second day.

It will have to resolve this bitter battle with unions and contend with angry customers.

The airline has warned that the strike could push the airline to the brink of collapse

READ: CCMA to mediate meeting between SAA, striking workers

"If the strike continues on a sustained basis we are going to face the prospect of the company having to fold," SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said.

SAA workers -- including cabin crew, check-in, ticket sales, technical and ground staff -- embarked on an indefinite strike for higher wages and against the national carrier's overhaul plan.

The cash-strapped airline was forced to ground hundreds of flights.

It, however, said it was making plans to resume international flights by Sunday night.

READ: SAA international flights operational on Sunday

"The airline is pleased to announce that it is aiming to operate all international flights with effect from Sunday 17 November 2019 and customers should report to the airport as normal," SAA said in a statement.

Unions pressed on with the walkout after talks with management deadlocked.

Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi, president of the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA), said a new round of mediated talks with the airline was expected on Saturday. 

READ: SAA cancels all flights after strike call

"We have always and will always be willing to negotiate and talk to management, we have told them this time and time again," Nsibanyoni-Mugambi told AFP.

"We are hoping these talks will bear fruit," said Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, spokeswoman of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) said. 

The unions are pressing for a three-year guarantee of job security and an eight percent across-the-board wage hike. The airline is offering a 5.9 percent increase. 

Numsa and the SA Cabin Crew Association are still unmoved by SAA's claim that it's too broke to meet their salary demands. 

The South African Airways strike continues for a second day, with all flights cancelled.


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