Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday it had asked for certain aviation industry services to be declared “essential”, thus barring the relevant workers from to striking, as a wage strike at national carrier South African Airways (SAA) entered a fifth day.
In a statement, DA shadow minister of employment and labour Dr Michael Cardo noted that the regulation and control of air traffic in South Africa had already been declared an essential service in 1997.
"It could be argued that since airports in South Africa have been designated as national key points under the National Key Points Act of 1980, which means that any damage to, or disruption and immobilisation of these facilities may harm the country, it would be in the public interest to ban all strike action at airports and indeed any national key points," Cardo said.
The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) vowed at the weekend to intensify the strike to press for an eight percent wage increase, among other demands, after a failed meeting with SAA management on Saturday under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).
The two unions, who have rejected SAA's offer of 5.9 percent, also warned passengers "not to fly SAA because their safety cannot be guaranteed".