It's 'in no one's interest' for pilots to strike: SAA

27 September 2019 - 18:46 By Nonkululeko Njilo
SAA says it would be in "no one's interest" if its pilots were to embark on a strike. File photo
SAA says it would be in "no one's interest" if its pilots were to embark on a strike. File photo
Image: 123RF/ Jaromír Chalabala

South African Airways has committed to resolving internal grievances which saw its pilots threatening to go on strike.

The pilots threatened the industrial action if critical and technical issues were not attended to.

The commitment from the national carrier comes after the SAA Pilots Association (SAAPA) publicly expressed concern at the competency of the leadership team to turn around the embattled airline.

“We are disappointed that this has been placed in the public domain while we continue to engage meaningfully with SAAPA on a number of issues. We are in the middle of the negotiation process and we would prefer to see that the process runs its natural course before any statements are made by the parties,” said SAA spokesperson, Tlali Tlali.

In an attempt to set the record straight, he acknowledged that the courier was faced with numerous challenges including revenue stimulation and network optimisation.

“To address this challenge, an experienced executive with responsibility for this area has started in September 2019,” he said.

Tlali said SAA had taken steps to bring in required capacity to strengthen management. He said the appointment processes took time, as due process had to be followed.

“Notwithstanding, a number of key appointments, including the chief commercial officer, the CEO of SAA technical, the CEO of Mango, have been announced and more executive hires are in the pipeline,” he said.

Tlali said SAA was fully aware of its responsibility to turn around the entity urgently hence it had accelerated long-term turnaround strategy (LTTS) implementation.

“We are committed to building a strong and resilient SAA in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. The board and the executive are seized with this urgent task and we urge SAAPA to continue with the constructive engagements they have had with the company,” he said.

The public was assured it was in "‘no one’s interest"’ to embark on industrial action as all stakeholders were committed to the course of action and contingency plans to turn around the courier.

SAA said would continue engaging SAAPA, other unions and all employees in sharing progress being made and mechanisms being developed to address the many other challenges.