Yet again our national airline finds itself with trouble on its hands. A strike by workers which started yesterday threatens to cost the airline R62 million per day. Almost a quarter of the airline's staff are expected to down tools across all departments.
The airline has stated that it has a contingency plan in place but I am less than confident in SAA's ability to manage itself. The cause for the strike appears to be apparent unilateral changes made to employment conditions. If this is indeed true I am left to wonder whether those in management at SAA do not understand the trade union movement or whether they in fact care! A strike in 2006 cost the airline R150-million!
In court papers SAA stated that it was concerned about the image being portrayed to the international community with the Confederations Cup in 2009 and the FIFA World Cup in 2010 just around the corner. A little late in the day for concerns about international image!
Is it time for the national airline to be privatized? Even in this economic climate this may be just the change that's needed.