South Africa-Aviation-Strike

S/Africa Airways extends flight cancellations to Monday

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

South Africa’s troubled national carrier on Friday extended the suspension of domestic and regional flights by two more days as a strike by thousands of its employees crippled operations.

South African Airways (SAA) said in a statement that it was extending the cancellation of domestic and regional flights to Monday. It had earlier announced that the cancellation would only affect flights on Friday and Saturday.

“This operational decision (to extend the cancellations) is aimed at minimising the impact of disruptions for the airline’s customers,” the airline said.

Some 3,000 SAA staff members downed tools on Friday to demand better wages.

The workers have rejected a 5.9 percent pay hike offered by the airline and are demanding an 8 percent increment instead.

The workers, affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association, downed their tools in the early hours of Friday.

The strike has left SAA operations at most airports across South Africa being crippled, with the only arriving passengers being the ones who were on SAA flights returning from abroad when the strike began.

What triggered the industrial action was a SAA’s management media statement that it intended to retrench 1,000 workers due to a restructuring plan meant to relieve the cash-strapped flag carrier from financial pressure.

NM/jn/APA

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