Showdown looms at SAA over unpaid wages

SAA3 1 - Showdown looms at SAA over unpaid wages

A showdown is expected between government and trade unions over unpaid salaries at the South African Airways (SAA).

There are concerns that the likelihood of a messy court battle would further complicate efforts to rescue the struggling airline.

State-owned SAA has not made a profit in almost a decade and the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened its financial situation. It was placed under voluntary business rescue in December last year.

Earlier this week, the Department of Public Enterprises announced the appointment of a new SAA board. Some unions have made a counter-proposal to the DPE for workers to be paid three months’ salary now, with the remainder deferred until the airline gets a promised bailout from the government and a restructuring plan can be implemented.
The SAA Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) has taken a harder line, rejecting the government offer outright.  SAAPA has given SAA’s administrators until close of business on Monday to undertake to pay its members a 13th cheque from last year, or face court action.

Bleak Christmas

SAA employees face a bleak Christmas as they have gone for eight months without pay.

Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) held a protest outside SAA headquarters last week demanding to be paid.

In the video below, SABC’s Mbongeni Muthwa elaborates on the story:

Ethiopian Airlines wants to assist SAA

In October, Ethiopia’s National Carrier, Ethiopian Airlines said it is still in talks with South Africa on how to help South African Airlines return to profit.

South Africa’s state-owned carrier has not made any profit since 2011.

Aviation expert Desmond Latham speaks about the conditions that Ethiopian Arline has proposed:

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