The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association have said their members’ jobs and the future of struggling national carrier SAA are at stake after the resignation of CEO Vuyani Jarana, threatening a possible strike if he is not reinstated.
Jarana announced his resignation from South African Airways over the weekend, citing the airline’s mounting debt and lack of support from the government as a shareholder.
In a joint statement late on Tuesday, NUMSA and SACCA said Jarana had been frustrated by bureaucratic red-tape and accused the government of refusing to fund a turnaround strategy for the financially strapped airline.
“We want to be upfront that we have always understood that there has been an agenda to privatise SOEs (state-owned enterprises) and SAA is not immune to this,” the unions said.
“Under these circumstances, NUMSA and SACCA are calling an urgent meeting with the president of the country as we reject and refuse the resignation of Jarana and demand that he be reinstated with immediate effect.”
The unions further noted, Considering what we are confronted with at SAA, NUMSA and SACCA might be left with no option but to organise our members for an indefinite industrial action which might not rule out a strike action which will ground all flights.”
The unions’ members at the airline include baggage handlers, ramp agents, technicians, cleaners, security, cabin crew, pilots, check-in agents, corporate employees as well as catering staff. -ANA