The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association have vowed to intensify their strike action at South African Airways and SAA Technical after a marathon mediation meeting on Saturday failed to break the deadlock.
In a joint statement, the unions said the meeting produced no resolution in the ongoing impasse. This past week, SAA said it would potentially have to cut 944 jobs. Unions are also demanding an increase of 8% across-the-board while management is offering 5.9%.
The strike prompted SAA to cancel international flights set for Friday and Saturday, although the national carrier announced on Sunday morning that international flights for Sunday evening would be reinstated.
The joint statement by unions said the meeting failed to find common ground on demands by the union, including in-sourcing labour for various SAA operational functions and protecting job security for employees.
The two unions called for broader solidarity in the aviation sector against what they termed the maltreatment of labour and risks to employees' job security at the national carrier as well as at other airlines.
"SAA management refuses to accept this demand which confirms in our minds, that they are dishonest when they claim they want to save SAA. This is confirmed by the decision to cancel additional flights on Sunday. The employer is not looking to resolve the dispute," the statement said.
The statement said NUMSA would begin a process of consulting workers for a secondary strike in aviation at the companies including Civil Aviation Authority, Mango airlines, SAfair, SA Express, Airports Company South Africa and airline catering company Airchefs.
"We are fighting against retrenchment, corruption and privatization. We call on all our members in these companies to join in solidarity because the changes at SAA will be affecting them too. The airline can and must be saved, in order to preserve jobs along the value chain," the statement said.
The statement condemned the management of SA Express for retrenching 124 workers at the airline in September this year, calling the retrenchment an exercise in covering up failures of executive management to clean up the airline.
Compiled by Khulekani Magubane