Strikers arrested for trying to barricade SAA premises

Two suspected Satawu strikers have been arrested on SA Airways (SAA) premises in Kempton Park.

They were part of a group which blocked the main entrances, SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said yesterday.

“[They] were taken into custody whilst trying to barricade the entrances by setting tyres alight. This incident happened away from the demarcated picketing area,” he said.

Some SAA workers affiliated to the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) have been on strike for the past 10 days.

Earlier, Tlali said SAA was not against workers striking, but wanted to ensure its property and staff were safe during the strike action.

“Once they embark on an industrial action, they must do so in a right way and not cause any harm or inconvenience to us or others,” he said.

Last week, SAA obtained a court interdict preventing workers from damaging its property and from intimidating workers who were not participating in the strike.

Yesterday, Tlali said SAA had consulted its lawyers about a contempt of court charge following the blockade.

The action had reinforced management’s decision last week to suspend all forms of wage negotiations with Satawu until it had called its members to order, he said.

“These negotiations remain suspended.”

The police and Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu could not be reached to confirm the incident.

Meanwhile, SAA advised its office staff to temporarily work from remote locations.

Earlier, Mahlangu said the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration had informed him that it was willing to facilitate talks and was waiting to hear whether SAA would consent to the process.

SAA has offered a wage hike of 6.5%.

Satawu has rejected the offer, but it has been accepted by Solidarity and the Aviation Union of SA.

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