New settlement deal set to ax 290 SAA pilot positions

Shutterstock/Rob Atherton

South African Airways Pilots Association agreed on a settlement with South African Airways regarding unpaid wages. 290 pilot positions could be axed.

Members of the South African Airways Pilots Association (SAAPA) have agreed on a settlement with state legacy carrier  South African Airways (SAA) that will see a compensation of unpaid salaries. However, 290 SAA pilots could be possibly retrenched.

90% of SAA pilots are represented by SAAPA and a minimum vote in favor of 51% was required to implement the agreement. 

According to SAAPA chairperson Captain Grant Back, 95% of the SAAPA have voted in favor of an in-principle agreement presented by SAA which will compensate salaries that have not been paid for nearly 15 months.

“The in-principle agreement is now being put into proper legal context and language,“ added Back. “In terms of the agreement, SAAPA members, who haven’t been paid in 15 months, will start receiving payments within 72 hours of the agreement being signed, including the 13th cheque owed from two years ago.”

Following South African Airways’ entry into bankruptcy protection in December 2019, over 200 pilots have taken voluntary severance packages. According to SAAPA’s statement and reports by News24, an additional 290 pilots will be retrenched in order to meet SAA’s rescue plan goals which requires only 88 pilots.

The SAAPA still has legacy issues to resolve with the Department of Public Enterprises and SAA. However, the carrier’s new equity partner has been firm on its stance of not taking on legacy issues.

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