SAA retrenchment consultation-CCMA rules in favour of unions

South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), the Aviation Union of Southern Africa (AUSA) and Solidarity are delighted to announce the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled in favour of their participation in the retrenchment process at South African Airways (SAA).

Yesterday, the three unions who are in coalition at SAA made presentations to the CCMA to force the airline to consult on the planned retrenchment of 944 employees. Last Monday, SAA angered labour unions when it informed the media of its plan to retrench workers without having consulted as per the stipulations of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. In response to the backlash, management subsequently served notice to some the unions but did not include the coalition of SATAWU, AUSA and Solidarity.

The unions initially planned to approach the labour court but on the advice of legal counsel approached the CCMA instead. Each of the unions presented their case yesterday and were delighted when the CCMA ruled with absolute certainty that they had to be included in the consultation process. The commission was also adamant the scope of the consultation must include non-organised workers.

The first of the consultative meetings is set for 25 December, followed by 3 December.

Regarding salary negotiations at SAA Technical (SAAT), members of the coalition will meet with management today to continue discussions. The company offered a 5.9% salary hike during conciliation at the CCMA last Tuesday but said the offer was conditional on management cutting operational costs to fund it. Unions rejected this unguaranteed offer and were issued with a strike certificate that can only be actioned after 22 November. Meantime, negotiations continue.

SATAWU, AUSA and Solidarity welcome the Civil Aviation Authority’s confirmation that SAA has put contingency plans in place to ensure its operations are safe during the ongoing strike. The coalition urges fellow unions to desist from making unsubstantiated statements that could have a detrimental effect on SAA’s reputation and by extension the country.

For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Zanele Sabela, SATAWU Media Officer, 079 287 5788,