‘SAA look­ing at equity part­ner’

Daily Dispatch - - BUSINESS - NEELS BLOM

South African Air­ways chief ex­ec­u­tive Vuyani Jarana has an­gered the South African Trans­port and Al­lied Work­ers’ Union (Satawu) by giv­ing an un­der­tak­ing to trade union Sol­i­dar­ity that the state-owned na­tional car­rier would im­me­di­ately start look­ing for a strate­gic equity part­ner in the pri­vate sec­tor.

Sol­i­dar­ity pro­vided de­tail in mid­week of a writ­ten un­der­tak­ing by Jarana that the search for a strate­gic part­ner for the deeply in­debted air­line would be­gin im­me­di­ately.

The air­line could not yet pro­vide the scope, na­ture or con­trol struc­ture of the par­tial pri­vati­sa­tion it might be con­tem­plat­ing, said spokesman Tlali Tlali.

Satawu spokes­woman Zanele Sa­bela said the five unions that rep­re­sented work­ers at SAA had not been in­formed of the de­ci­sion to start look­ing for an equity part­ner im­me­di­ately.

“We were sur­prised to hear about this lat­est de­vel­op­ment in the me­dia de­spite hav­ing reg­u­lar en­gage­ments with Mr Jarana,” said Sa­bela.

“Even more sur­pris­ing is the fact that Sol­i­dar­ity is not a recog­nised union within SAA.”

Satawu rep­re­sents the ma­jor­ity of unionised work­ers at SAA Tech­ni­cal and Airchefs.

The unions were ex­pect­ing to meet Jarana yes­ter­day to dis­cuss state­ments he made in re­cent weeks about staff mat­ters with­out hav­ing spo­ken to the unions about it first.

Jarana “knows the process of re­trench­ing staff is a le­gal one”, said Sa­bela. He has a turn­around strat­egy that he has started im­ple­ment­ing. It does not look good to al­ter it each time to suit his au­di­ence.”

Jarana told Busi­ness Day that what he had told Sol­i­dar­ity was “noth­ing new” in that it had been ac­cepted in the gov­ern­ment and by the Trea­sury that the air­line would seek pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion in own­er­ship of SAA.

Even more sur­pris­ing is the fact that Sol­i­dar­ity is not a recog­nised union in SAA

Pic­ture: STEPHANIE LLOYD

CAUS­ING TUR­BU­LENCE: SA Air­ways CEO Vuyani Jarana ruf­fles union feathers by re­veal­ing the air­line would start look­ing for a strate­gic equity part­ner.

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