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