SAA striking cabin crew employees. Picture: JAN BORNMAN
SAA striking cabin crew employees. Picture: JAN BORNMAN

On Wednesday, the labour court confirmed as final the interim order it made last week interdicting and restraining South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) members from embarking on a strike.

Acting Judge Sean Snyman made this order after listening to arguments by counsel from the South African Airways (SAA) and the union.

The airline argued for the interim order it obtained last Wednesday to be made final while the union opposed this. Snyman said he would give reasons for his order on May 10.

There was no order as to costs.

Last week‚ members of the union embarked on a strike over a dispute relating to international meal allowances payable to cabin crew staff. The airline has allegedly not increased the meal allowance since 2011.

Cabin crew are currently getting a $131 international meal allowance‚ but are demanding that management adjust this allowance to $170 a day.

The strike resulted in the cancellation of more than 30 flights at airports around the country as there were not enough cabin crew members for all of the flights. It also resulted in SAA incurring losses amounting to R25m on the day.

The airline approached the labour court on the day of the strike and successfully applied for an interim order restraining Sacca members from embarking on the planned strike‚ which the airline described as unprotected.

On Wednesday, SAA counsel Andrew Redding argued for the interim interdict to be made final, saying the employees had not complied with the requirements set down in the Labour Relations Act to go on a protected strike.

He argued that the issue of meal allowances was an operational cost and workers could not go on strike on that issue, which did not constitute a term of employment.

Advocate for Sacca Omphemetse Mooki said the union referred the dispute of international meal allowances to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in February.

A certificate was issued by the commissioner stating that the issue remained unresolved.

Mooki said union members were entitled to go on strike as they had satisfied all requirements set out in the Labour Relations Act. He said the act stated that every employee had a right to strike if the issue in dispute had been referred to a bargaining council or to the CCMA‚ and upon the issuance of a certificate stating that the issue was unresolved.

TMG Digital

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