South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled nearly all its domestic, regional and international flights scheduled for Friday (15 November) and Saturday (16 November).
The airline said in a statement on Wednesday, that the decision was made to minimise the impact of disruptions for its customers.
The cancellations follow an announcement by the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), that their members will embark on industrial action from Friday morning.
“We are putting our customers first and regret the inevitable inconvenience that these cancellations may cause our customers. However, by acting proactively SAA can certainly help customers find alternatives,” said Tlali Tlali, SAA Spokesperson.
“Unless alternative arrangements are in place, customers are requested not to go to their departure airports during the disruption as SAA will be unable to provide any assistance. Information on the status of our flights will be regularly updated on our website,” said Tlali.
Tlali said that only flights operated by SAA will be affected and that all flights operated on partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink will continue to operate.
He said that the airline will assess the situation on an ongoing basis and customers will be kept informed of all operational developments on a daily basis.
Tlali said that, during the negotiations with the unions, SAA presented a revised offer for employees delivering a 5.9% increase subject to the availability of funds from lenders. NUMSA and SACCA are demanding an 8% increase.
National Transport Movement (NTM) has not stated whether their members will embark on a strike or not.
He said SAA attempted to dissuade the unions from embarking on industrial action by providing firm commitment dates to SAA’s offer of 5.9%.
“Discussions are continuing to resolve the wage matter at the time of issuing the statement.
“SAA will spare no effort to work jointly with the labour unions to find solutions that accommodate the employee demands, safeguard the business and return operations to normal.”