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Crew Members On Strike for More Money Force South African Airways to Cancel 32 Flights

People queue at the South African Airways (SAA) ticket counter at OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African Airways on Wednesday cancelled nearly three dozen flights, most of them domestic, because of a strike by some cabin crew.

The national carrier doesn’t have enough crew members to operate all its flights and is working to help passengers affected by cancellations and delays, the airline said. It said 32 flights, including 28 domestic ones, were cancelled.

About 200 striking flight attendants protested outside the head office of South African Airways in Johannesburg, the African News Agency reported.

Members of the labor union, the South African Cabin Crew Association, want more money for meals when working outside South Africa. They say their international meal allowances have not increased in the past six years, they stay in hotels where food is expensive and their spending power has diminished because of the depreciation of the South African currency.

Currently, cabin crew members get a meal allowance of $130 per trip. The African News Agency quoted union treasurer Gift Bilankulu as saying protesters want $170 but are willing to negotiate.

Managers of O. R. Tambo International Airport, the main international airport in Johannesburg, said they are monitoring the strike and that they have contingency plans to deal with any disruption.

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