200 airforce soldiers will have to give bonuses back

20 December 2012 - 10:38 By Sapa
Airforce pilots. File picture.
Airforce pilots. File picture.
Image: Financial Mail

Around 200 airforce soldiers who were mistakenly given performance bonuses in December will be made to pay them back.

A letter stating that the bonuses were awarded by mistake was circulated internally, Beeld reported.

Many of the soldiers affected are already on holiday, and will only see the letter when they return to work in January.

Others, who are still at work, have said they have consulted lawyers and will fight in court as the letter is invalid.

The airforce usually pays its performance bonuses earlier in the year, but this year they were paid with employees' December salary cheques.

Soldiers are also unaware whether they have been awarded the bonuses until the money is deposited into their bank accounts.

During the past year, guidelines handed down from senior airforce management dictated that those who had been promoted during the past year could not receive an additional performance bonus.

"That in itself already contravenes the labour law," one of the soldiers affected told Beeld.

According to the internal letter, the bonuses would be deducted in full from the January salary.

"It's a big mess, because we've already paid tax on it. How are they going to fix it, and what about the people who come back in January to find that they're not getting any salary at the end of the month?"

According to the newspaper the airforce was not available to comment on the issue.