JOHANNESBURG, 16 November 2019 – South African Airways (SAA) has approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to conciliate in the salary increment impasse at the national carrier.

“We are happy that the Unions have embraced our proposal for a commissioner to facilitate discussions aimed at resolving our differences. The mediation will begin on Saturday morning,” said Martin Kemp, SAA Acting General Manager for Human Resources.

“We recognise SAA and its employee’s contribution to our country’s economic growth, specifically in the context of outbound and inbound tourism. It is in the public interest that this dispute be resolved. The union’s willingness to find a resolution is laudable,” said Kemp.

NUMSA AND SACCA have demanded an 8% salary increase. SAA has advised that the airline cannot afford to pay any increases, however, it has offered the unions a 5.9% salary increase when funds are available.

SAA has unsuccessfully tried to dissuade the unions from embarking on industrial action by providing firm commitment dates to its offer. The unions have rejected the offer and embarked on industrial action.

“This is a critical time for the airline, and we will not give up on saving jobs and securing a future for the airline. It will not happen on our watch that SAA’s proud history of 85 years, ends,” said Kemp.

“Our efforts are focused on finding solutions that accommodate the employee demands, safeguard the business and return operations to normal. We are exploring all possible avenues,” said Kemp.

Meanwhile SAA has extended the cancellation of all domestic and regional flights scheduled for Sunday 17 November and Monday 18 November 2019, but will operate all international flights departing from OR Tambo International Airport from Sunday.

SAA will work with sister airline, Mango Airlines, to accommodate as many customers as possible travelling on domestic services.

Customers travelling to destinations in the regional market (points on the African continent) will be accommodated on Airlink, a partner airline of SAA, and other airlines where possible.

Customers are requested not to travel to their departure airports unless in possession of a rebooked itinerary. Customers seeking a refund or wishing to rebook their travel on a future SAA service have until 30 November 2019 to finalise their arrangements.