South African Airways (SAA) confirmed today (November 22) that it had reached an agreement with the unions in which it has been conflict to end the industrial action which the latter had initiated a week ago.
SAA initially would not budge from offering 5.9%.
"As of this morning, there wasn't even money for salaries for November, but because of you, we have the money", she told the jubilant workers.
"SAA and the recognised Trade Unions will apply to the relevant authorities (Department of Employment & Labour and the CCMA) for SAA to participate in the Training Layoff Scheme in terms of the rules of the scheme".
The 3 000-strong striking workers' unions have vowed to extend the strike to the SAA's affiliate airlines to achieve their objectives of higher salaries and better working conditions.
The workers will get a 5.9% pay increase with effect from February 2020 payday. NTM members would receive back payments in March and April 2020, he added.
"Members demanded an 8% increase and to achieve this, the remaining 2.1% will be funded by the task team whose main objective to consider is cost-saving initiatives, including insourcing". The government has spent about 20 billion rand (US$ 1.4 billion) on SAA in the past three years.
The airline subsequently announced that it would restore its flight schedule to normal over the weekend and promised to delay talks with unions on job cuts until the end of January.
"Our strike was never just about securing a wage agreement".
The unions announced the strike shortly after the airline said it was launching a restructuring process that could affect almost 950 employees.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said sacrifices were required on all sides, as SAA tries to turn its fortunes around after years of losses.
He has found it hard to make much headway, given fierce opposition from unions and a broad cross-section of society that is deeply suspicious of moves that could weaken the hand of the state in the economy.
SAA earlier indicated that the restructuring process would still continue for SAA management.