With effect from midnight tomorrow, all those affiliated to the South African Airway Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) will not be allowed on SAA premises. This after the airline’s business rescue practitioners issued a notice of a 48-hour lock-out to SAAPA.
All 383 pilots affiliated to SAAPA will be affected by the lockout. The move is aimed at getting SAAPA members to accept new terms and conditions of employment including new salary scales as part of the restructured national carrier.
The BRPs noted: “The new terms and conditions and salary scales are essential for the new competitive and successful SAA, which will initially require 88 pilots, to become cost-effective and more productive. SAAPA’s members will not be entitled to or paid, accrue or receive any remuneration or benefits during the exclusion and for the duration of the lock-out.”
The statement adds that the lock-out will only be terminated once the union agrees to the new terms and conditions.
Government and unions in a stalemate over SAA rescue plan:
Earlier, the Public Enterprises Department said it is not prepared to deal with additional demands from the South African Airways Pilots’ Association’s (SAAPA) regarding Voluntary Severance Packages.
Various unions except SAAPA endorsed the severance packages at South African Airways (SAA).
The department says it is concerned that the pilots are seeking benefits that are far more financially rewarding than any other group of employees at the airline.
The department says about 600 SAA pilots makeup 13% of SAA staff, and take up 45% of the Wage Bill. The lowest of SAA’s 170 senior pilots earn R3.6 million a year, without benefits.
Out of the R2.2 billion proposed budget for the retrenchments, pilots will get more than R1 billion.
The SAA’s Pilots Association says it has advised its members wishing to take up the VSPs to go ahead and apply for it. SAAPA has proposed the retrenchment of 1 548 employees and the retaining of 3000 employees.
The DPE says this proposal is not in the best interest of the airline, as it retains a much larger number of employees than the airline can afford. The DPE has further informed SAAPA their proposals cannot be accepted and will not accede to further unreasonable and greedy demands from the union’s leadership for additional benefits. – Additional reporting by Nandika Beukes