South Africa’s Pilots’ Association Head to Court

South Africa’s Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) has sought an urgent application from the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Thursday, April to have the airline’s use of replacement labour during its ongoing dispute with the carrier declared illegal.

The association also views the current lockout of its members since 18 December as unlawful. The union said in a statement on Wednesday evening that, should the lockout be declared unlawful, it is prepared to stop the current strike by its members immediately.

In the statement, “SAAPA has agreed to cancel its existing Regulating Agreement (RA) the day after its members are retrenched, but it will also argue that SAA cannot, while the current strike and lockout dispute continues, demand the RA be cancelled and also endeavour to [have it cancelled] through further pending court action, which SAA is attempting to do”  

Thomas Kgokolo , New interim CEO of SAA

SAAPA is also arguing that salaries owed to striking pilots from before the commencement of the lockout must be paid just as other employees were paid.

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“SAAPA has decided to take the high ground and will not in future be part of, or respond to, headline-seeking rhetoric. All of us have given loyal and dedicated career service to SAA in positions of great responsibility. The demise of what is a proud and respected brand, as well as the financial hardship of not being paid in a year, is causing us and our families much distress.”

The business rescue practitioners are also insisting that some of it be paid over a period of three years.

In a letter to SAAPA members on 9 April, the business rescue practitioners say that R704 million would have been paid out last week it the association had acceded to its offer.

A further R182 million during the course of this week. The balance of ex-gratia and severance payments would have been made over the next three years.

SAA announced on Wednesday that Thomas Kgokolo has been appointed by the interim board as new interim CEO of the airline. The rescue practitioners are currently trying to wind matters up so that they can exit the process and hand the airline back to the interim board.

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