South African Airways open to dialogue with protesting cabin crew


South African Airways (SAA) is open to dialogue with the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) following a picket at the airline’s Kempton Park offices.

According to reports, SACCA is picketing against, amongst others, alleged unfair working conditions, 35% wage cuts to workers and the structure of SAA’s management.

“SAA [interim] CEO, Thomas Kgokolo, spent a lot of time with staffing groups prior to restart and recognises the hard work and dedication that cabin crew members have shown in the time leading to the carrier’s relaunch and thanks staff in this respect. The airline looks forward to positive and strengthening relationship with the SACCA and is always open to constructive dialogue,” the airline said in a statement.

SAA said it also takes note of the union’s grievances.

“While SAA recognises and respects the rights of people to protest, the carrier is not able to revert to prior agreements reached before business rescue. SAA notes the protest action by SACAA on a dispute with regards to terms and conditions of employment.”

The protest action comes at least three weeks after the airline took to the skies after being grounded for 18 months due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and going through a business rescue process.

According to SAA, all unions were consulted about the future of the airline during that process.

“During the hiatus SAA consulted widely with all stakeholders including staff associations and unions and is confident that all new agreements reached with parties either in a collective or individual capacity were negotiated fairly and equitably,” SAA said.

The airline has moved to assure customers that flight services will continue as normal.

“SAA assures its customers that business continues unhindered and operational schedules are unaffected by this protest,” it said.