South African Airways is about to start A350 services and it should be a big positive moment for the airline.
Instead it’s turnaround plan, which has 900 redundancies planned for its staff, is about to trigger a ruinous indefinite strike by two thirds of its work force.
The unions aren’t willing to give in and as usual have strong support from politicians who won’t stay neutral and constantly interfere in the airlines affairs.
On the one hand the government is piling bailout money into the airline it doesn’t want to loose while, the same politicians are supporting the unions in a strike that will cripple the airline and bankrupt it.
The unions simply cannot understand that cost control is essential and the airline is horribly over manned, largely because the unions just won’t give an inch.
The Alitalia mentality where the unions don’t see they could loose every single job if the airline fails, is alive and well.
The unions don’t just want jobs kept. They want guaranteed employment for 3 years for all and an 8% pay rise.
If negotiations fail by Friday – and both sides are miles apart, an indefinite strike begins and SAA may be weeks away from collapse.
It hasn’t made a profit since 2011, doesn’t have a permanent CEO and lives on government bailouts. Quite how it’s supposed to afford staff it can’t keep and pay rises that haven’t been earned is lost on the unions.