A decision to ground SAA flights this weekend has left scores of travellers stranded. Picture: ANA
Durban - A decision to ground SAA flights this weekend has left scores of travellers stranded.

Earlier this week, SAA cancelled all domestic, regional and international flights scheduled for today and tomorrow.

The announcement was made following a call by the SA Cabin Crew Association and National Union of Metalworkers of SA that they would embark on a strike in response to a retrenchment notice issued by the national carrier.

Unions are demanding an 8% increase while SAA is offering a 5.9% salary increase.

Posting via the FlySAA Facebook page, a passenger said he was unhappy about his flight being grounded.

Cheng Ji Dong, who was due to fly later today, said he had received an email yesterday to tell him that his flight had been cancelled.

“So I called the reservation desk to confirm these changes and I was told that there will be a flight on Wednesday next week. Because I didn’t have any other options, I told the guy on the phone to book it for me. The funny thing is that I was told that I needed to pay R1000 to reschedule the booking. I’m still in shock. Why do I need to pay R1000 for them to reschedule my flight, when the cancellation of the flight wasn’t even my fault?” he asked.

Ji Dong said he bought his tickets in October, and if he wanted a refund it would take between seven to 30 days to get it.

A local businessman, who is away in Mozambique, said he was due to fly back last night but would have to wait to travel tomorrow instead.

Chief economist at the Efficient Group, Dawie Roodt, said the demands made by unions were unfair.

“The reality is, there are far too many people employed by SAA and if you compare SAA to other airlines, you will see that they have no right to complain as they were well remunerated,” Roodt said.

DA chief whip, Natasha Mazzone, said SAA was playing into the hands of the unions, which were holding them to ransom.

SAA spokesperson, Tlali Tlali, said only flights operated by SAA would be affected.

“All flights operated on partner airlines, including SA Express, Mango, SA Airlink and Star Alliance will not be affected,” he said.See BR.

The Mercury