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SAA pilots given 48-hour ‘lockout’ notice, administrators say

Administrators want the pilots to accept new terms and conditions, which include new salary scales.
Image: Bloomberg

Administrators at struggling South African Airways (SAA) said on Wednesday they have issued a 48-hour notice to prevent nearly 400 pilots from accessing the company’s premises until they agree to new employment terms and conditions.

SAA entered a local form of bankruptcy protection in December of 2019 after roughly a decade of financial losses, and its fortunes worsened after it grounded flights because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Efforts to rescue the state airline face resistance from trade unions, who are at loggerheads with the government over wages.

The administrators, who argue that pilots had “very extensive and lavish benefits” said the lockout will affect 383 pilots who are members of the SAA Pilots’ Association (SAAPA).

The administrators want the pilots to accept new terms and conditions, which include new salary scales.

Reuters was not able to immediately reach SAAPA for comment.

The lockout blocks SAAPA members from the airline’s workplace beginning midday on Friday, until the administrator’s demands are accepted. Affected pilots will not be entitled to any remuneration or benefits for the duration of the lockout.

“The proposed new terms and conditions are fair and competitive for a regional African airline,” the administrators said in a statement.

“In fact, SAA has among the highest cost base in terms of pilots’ salaries, meal allowances, leave and sick pay and travel rebate benefits internationally. This cannot continue if the business rescue of SAA is to succeed,” they said.

Out of SAA’s roughly 4 500 staff when it entered administration in December 2019, around 3 200 have accepted severance terms and 1 300 are still in layoff consultations.

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A pilot who is given the keys to a % billion $ plane should be very well paid.

this is plain to see, white pilots out, black pilots in.

SAA will crash and burn.

Surely this only effects the 4 pilots who be flying all future SAA Planes , given their BEE policy ?

SAA will need fewer Captains and the Administrators also know that with the global airline industry in a tailspin they are well placed to adjust labour pricing to reflect supply and demand.

So, now who is going to pilot your cadres around the world on their shopping jollies?

Is it just me or does this sound so very Africa. Who is going to fly the planes then???

..sounds very like ANC MEC’s and rural municipalities

So, an SAA client services desk employee can earn up to R 419,000 pa whilst a top drawer SA Captain earns +/- R1,000,000 pa and the anc/ SAA recon the latter are overpaid and want to half their salaries?

Good luck anc, maybe you should consider upgrading few local taxi divers, put them behind the controls of a multimillion Rand aircraft, give them a quick crash-course in navigation and get them to ferry your elite cadres around the world on their jollies!

SAA should have been liquidated ages ago. Shortly after Jarana was appointed as CEO in Aug 2017, he produced a plan to save SAA with a price tag of R 22 B over 3 years. By now, since then, SAA has cost more than R 40 Billion.
Please liquidate it ASAP. Those BRPs are just milking it and delaying the inevitable.

I’m just confused: ‘to prevent nearly 400 pilots from accessing the company’s premises’. The airline’s not operating and there’s hardly a plane left. AND it will not operate if the pilots don’t access the premises!!

Personally, I will never fly with SAA again (unless I have NO choice if they are the only airline servicing a particular region)

I will gladly pay more and fly with a decent airline that doesn’t have these new nonsensical rules in place.

Sadly, they were an excellent airline and up there with best in the world (financial non-performance not withstanding)

Could not agree more, supporting SAA would make a person an accomplice to the crime and criminal activities which took place.

….and brazen racism!

Looks like the pilots have a cut and dried case for the labour courts on the face of it. Unilaterally changing terms and conditions of employment – they (BRP’s) ought to know better and should be held accountable for these costs.

End of comments.

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