South Africa: The Gloves Come Off in Dispute Between SAA and Pilots

(file photo).

Negotiations between SAA's joint business rescue practitioners (BRPs) and the SAA Pilots' Association have reached an implacable deadlock. On Wednesday, the BRPs issued a 48-hour notice of lockout to the union, with effect from 12 noon on Friday.

In September, SAA's business rescue practitioners presented the SAA Pilots' Association (SAAPA) with a set of demands.

These were the new terms and conditions of employment and new salary scales for the 88 pilots who would be retained by SAA following the airline's restructuring. Some 620 pilots will be retrenched, as per the S189A notice issued in July.

In addition to the new conditions, SAAPA was required to agree to the termination of the Regulating Agreement (RA) that governs the terms and conditions under which SAA's pilots are employed (and dismissed and retrenched). The union also had to accept the minimum statutory severance pay of one week's remuneration per completed year of service, as per the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, but substantially less than that stipulated under the RA.

Negotiations stalled, with SAAPA agreeing to some, but not all of the new terms and conditions. As a result, on 30 October SAA referred the dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation...

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