IFALPA has been informed by ALPA South Africa (ALPA-SA), that the South African Airways Pilot Association (SAAPA), representing 89% of all pilots at SAA, has been locked out of their workplace since 18 December 2020. The pilots have not been paid in a year and have been targeted in a vindictive and malicious fashion by the Business Rescue Practitioners and the Department of Public Enterprises in the press and recently at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA), where the Minister stated that “the SAA Pilots’ Association was sabotaging the relaunch of SAA”.
According to SAAPA, the reality is very different. Since the pilots needed to do the future required training are locked out by the Company (with the blessing of the DPE) and any attempt by SAAPA has made to work together with the Company or the BRPs for the last 15 months, has been met with disinterest and the many attempts by SAAPA to assist or reach a compromise have been blocked at every opportunity.
SAA management and the BRPs have realized that SAA currently has minimal costs, with reduced aircraft leases or operating costs and a very low headcount and have used this advantage to attempt to starve out the pilots. SAAPA pilots have endured and withstood over three months of lock out and were last paid a year ago. The Company has now realised it actually needs the highly skilled pilots it has locked out and is attempting to force a selected few back to work, while attempting to blame the pilots for the decision to lock them out.
All SAAPA pilots will go on strike at 1800 UTC today 1 April 2021 with the following demands:
- That the Regulating Agreement, its annexes and all other collective agreements be terminated on the day following the date on which the last SAAPA member leaves the employ of the Company as a result of the section 189(3) notice dated 18 July 2020.
- That the proposed terms and conditions relating to dismissal of pilots for operational reasons and the notice period* as contained in the Company’s proposed terms and condition for future pilots, be applied to the dismissal of current pilots as a result of the section 189 notice dated 18 July 2020.
- We demand that all pilots who are to be retrenched as a result of the section 189(3) notice dated 18 July 2020 be retrenched by no later than 15 April 2021 and that SAA pay these pilots their remuneration on termination, for the three (3) months’ notice that pilots would have received, in lieu of the pilots working their notice period.
As a consequence of the above, ALPA-SA requests, through IFALPA, the following Mutual Assistance starting on 1 April 2021 at 1800 UTC and until further notice:
Denial of Training Facilities (Para. 2.4.4)
Submissions and Representations (Para. 2.4.7)
All IFALPA Member Associations are requested to forward letters of support to: Captain Grant Back, Chairman of SAAPA, [email protected]
ALPA-SA and SAAPA will keep IFALPA and its Member Associations informed of any further developments.