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SAA engaging pilots as threat of a strike looms

Sep 30, 2019
SAA engaging pilots as threat of a strike looms

East London - The South African Airways (SAA) said that it is continuing to engage pilots who have threatened to embark on a strike.

“Management continues to engage with SAAPA, other unions and all employees in sharing progress being made and mechanisms being developed to address the many other challenges. Inputs from all interested parties in the company are welcomed and given due consideration,” said the national carrier.

The airline expressed disappointment with the South African Airways Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) announcement on Thursday of the possible strike action.

In a statement on Friday, the SAA Board of Directors said it is disappointed that engagements with the association have been placed in the public domain while it continues to “engage meaningfully”.

“We are in the middle of the negotiation process and we would prefer to see that the process run its natural course before any statements are made by the parties.”

It was reported that pilots are frustrated with the carrier’s lack of concern to issues they have raised including the appointment of a permanent Chief Executive Officer, among others.

The carrier said it accepts that it faces a number of challenges on many fronts, including revenue stimulation and network optimisation. To address this challenge, an experienced executive with responsibility for this area started earlier this month.

It also stated that:

  • SAA has taken steps to bring in required capacity to strengthen management and this is widely known and seen within the company. We all must acknowledge that the appointment processes take time, as due process has to be followed. Notwithstanding, a number of key appointments, including the Chief Commercial Officer, the CEO of SAA Technical, the CEO of Mango, have been announced and more executive hires are in the pipeline. 
  • Management continues to engage with SAAPA, other unions and all employees in sharing progress being made and mechanisms being developed to address the many other challenges. Inputs from all interested parties in the company are welcomed and given due consideration. 
  • SAA wants to assure the public, its employees and SAAPA that they are cognisant of the need to turn SAA around urgently, hence the accelerated Long-term Turnaround Strategy (LTTS) implementation. 
  • It is committed to building a strong and resilient SAA in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. The board and the executive are seized with this urgent task and they urge SAAPA to continue with the constructive engagements they have had with the company. 

The nation carrier stated that it is in no one’s interest to embark on industrial action.

“We would hope that everyone is committed to the philosophy and course of action set out above, which we believe is supported by all key stakeholders,” it said. - SAnews.gov.za

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