File picture: Supplied

Johannesburg - South African Airways (SAA) on Friday, said that the labour union SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has formally withdrawn a notice of strike served on its maintenance subsidiary, SAA Technical, after signing a wage agreement. 

The troubled airline was forced to review and update its contingency measures to ensure business continuity and to minimise the impact on its operations in the event the strike action went through.

In a statement, SAA spokesperson, Tlali Tlali said that another meeting had been scheduled for Friday afternoon, with Satawu to iron out some issues. 

"This means that the threat to cause possible operational instability as a result of industrial action has effectively been removed," Tlali said.

"We are truly encouraged by these developments and are grateful that we never experienced any business continuity glitches during the period when parties were in negotiations. We thank our customers and all stakeholders for their understanding and cooperation, especially in the period after the strike notice was served."

This comes after Satawu last weekend served the airline’s maintenance subsidiary with a notice of the intention to embark on industrial action following wage negotiation dispute. 

Two labour unions that enjoy recognition at SAA Technical, the Aviation Union of Southern Africa (AUSA) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), also signed the agreement with the employer accepting the revised offer presented by management on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the South African government last week approved the transfer of R3 billion in funds from the National Revenue Fund (NRF) to SAA to allow the airline to meet its debt obligations to Citibank and avoid a default. 

SAA had to meet its repayment obligations on a Citibank loan amounting to R6.8 billion. Citibank demanded R1.8 billion by the end of September, coinciding with the prospect of the airline being unable to pay salaries because of a severe cash crunch.

The rest of the NRF sourced funds, R1.2 billion, would be given to SAA for working capital cost.