SAA strike to go ahead, unions say their demands must be met
November 15, 2019
After a meeting on Thursday afternoon, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association rejected the latest offer by South African Airways. This means that, for now, the strike called by the two unions and their 3 000 members at SAA and SAA Technical will go ahead on Friday morning at 4am. SAA on Thursday evening asked passengers who had been booked to travel on all its domestic, regional and international flights on Friday and Saturday not to turn up at airports, but instead to follow the airline's travel policy to exercise their rights following the cancellation of flights because of industrial action. Only flights operated by South African Airways will be affected, the airline said earlier in the day. All flights operated on partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink and all codeshare partners, including flights operated by its Star Alliance partner airlines, will not be affected. In a joint statement the two unions said the strike would be indefinite. The unions had announced on Wednesday afternoon that, if demands were not met, they would launch the "mother of all strikes". According to the unions, SAA is offering a 5.9% wage increase to be paid in March 2020, with back pay to be paid in instalments beginning April 1, 2020. They have rejected the offer in favour of a 8% wage increase across the board to be paid on December 13, 2019, and 50% of the back pay to be paid with the increase on the same day. The unions want the remainder of the back pay to be paid on January 27, 2020. NUMSA and SACCA also want immediate insourcing of certain services and the cancelling of outsourcing contracts which the unions claim are "bleeding SAA dry". "Our demands are not just for a wage increase. In 2015 we were told SAA is in a crisis and workers had to be retrenched. Those workers were retrenched, but nothing was done about the airline's procurement space, which affects (its finances). If the management of this airline is genuine, they will deal with the insourcing issue immediately," NUMSA and SACCA said at a briefing on Thursday afternoon. According to the two unions, SAA is willing to lose R50m a day by cancelling flights on Friday and Saturday, when in the view of the unions, that R100m is what it would cost the airline to comply with the unions' wage demand over a year period.

Source: Fin24

Wizz chief derides airline rivals' zero-carbon pledges
November 14, 2019
Wizz Air chief Jozsef Varadi has scorned the pledges of airlines which are committing to becoming carbon-neutral in several decades' time. Varadi spoke during a 13 November half-year briefing at which it put its carbon dioxide emissions figure at 57g per revenue passenger-kilometre, claiming this to be some 40% lower than IAG or Lufthansa. "It's great when an airline like British Airways, KLM, or Air France says that in 2050 – we're all going to be dead by that time – we're going to be carbon neutral," he said. "These are the worst-performing airlines." He insists that, regardless of their declarations, they "don’t have the financial resources to sufficiently invest" in the technology required to "change the game". "I think it's a bit of a joke, what they're saying," says Varadi, pointing out that the larger carrier groups offer business class, lower-density seating, and flight connections. "Inherently their business model is environmentally-polluting." He argues that Wizz's environmental impact is substantially smaller, on a per-passenger basis. "If you have 'flight-shaming', maybe you should have 'business-class shaming' and 'connecting-flight shaming' as well," he says. "Maybe we need to think about that."

Source: FlightGlobal

SAA: Unions have issued strike notice
November 14, 2019
South African Airways acting chair Thandeka Mgoduso has confirmed that the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association issued the national carrier with a strike notice on Wednesday morning. Mgoduso was appearing before parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA). SAA announced on Monday that it is embarking on a restructuring process which may affect 944 jobs - almost a fifth of its employees. In response, Numsa and SACCA warned that their members are preparing for "the mother of all strikes at SAA". On Wednesday, SAA briefed SCOPA on the reasons why it failed to submit its 2018-19 annual report and financial statements, as required by the Public Finance Management Act. The delegation told SCOPA that they were prevented from tabling the report as there are reservations whether the airline can be presented as a going concern. Over the past 13 years, the flag carrier has incurred over R28bn in cumulative losses. The committee was not satisfied with their explanation, but gave the utility an opportunity to explain the financial situation and plans to table their annual report on November 20th. SAA board member Martin Kingston told SCOPA that the only thing that may have changed by November 27th is a potential strike, which would lead to a further deterioration of the carrier's financial situation. Deon Fredericks, interim chief financial officer (CFO) of SAA, told a media briefing on Tuesday that the strike will endanger the existence of SAA and could destroy every job at the state-owned airline. Fredericks said labour currently represents 24% of SAA's total cost. Fin24 understands that SAA is currently under pressure to secure R2bn in working capital, which it needs before the end of November. Government does not want to extend further support. Finance minister Tito Mboweni announced last month that Treasury won't extend additional bailouts to state-owned enterprises - any further financing will be in the form of loans, that will have to be repaid, with interest.

Source: Fin24


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