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SAA Latest News: SAA Can’t Pay Salaries Month-End, Comair may join strike

Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan, has noted that the SAA strike has placed the airline in a severe state. So much so, that workers may not receive their salaries at the end of the month.

SAA strike: What’s the latest?

The minister made these utterances at an Eskom parliamentary briefing, on Wednesday. A day ago, Gordhan had met with trade unions to try and map a way forward for all parties — Numsa, Sacca and SAA — and resolve the wage dispute once and for all.

The airline is adamant that it is beyond broke and does not have the means to service the 8% salary hike being demanded by trade unions.

As the strike enters its fifth day, Gordhan told the parliamentary committee that unions need to worry less about salary increases and consider the possibility that workers may not receive a salary at the end of November.

He noted that, while there were no legal grounds available for the government to intervene with an emergency bailout this year, they were considering all options to see how assistance can be offered to SAA.

Is SAA going to be liquidated?

During its meeting with Scopa earlier this month, the airline had stated that the only way out of its trouble — which is highly unadvised — would be to go into a liquidation process.

SAA Board member, Martin Kingston, had warned that going into liquidation would prove to be very catastrophic. He explained that:

  • loans amounting to R9.2-billion would have to be paid immediately;
  • aircraft leases would immediately default; and
  • R40-billion worth of financial obligations would have to be settled as a matter of urgency.
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This may have been the attitude before the impact of the trike but it seems thaere has been a change in perspective after On Point, a SABC News segment, reported that the airline was prepared to go into liquidation if no guarantees were received from goevrnment.

As yet, the airline has not issued a statement confirming this to be true.

Air Chefs submits secondary strike notice, Comair could join in

Another development that surfaced from demonstrations that were held in Kempton Park, on Wednseday, is that workers from Air Chefs, the airline’s on-flight caterer, have submitted a secondary strike notice.

This, it is believed, came after wage talks between unions and the airline fell apart. Furthermore, Comair, a low-cost airline service that operates Kulula.com and British Airways in South Africa, could also see its workers go on strike.

While this information has yet to be corroborated, Numsa representatives have revealed that Comair hasyet to receive a 48-hour notice, which allows workers the opportunity to cast a secret ballot on whether they are willing to picket or not.

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