A deal between South African Airways and Pilots Association has finally been sealed.
This follows the in-principle agreement earlier in July, with a 94.9 percent majority vote in its favour.
The deal was signed and ratified on Friday.
According to the terms of the agreement, Pilot association members will be retrenched based on their current salaries.
Overall, this is still below what they would be entitled to under the regulating agreement.
According ENCA media, SAA Pilots Association chairperson Grant Back says that the deal is the best under the circumstances.
“…this is a definitely the best deal under the circumstances. it has been a long journey we have not been paid for 16months,” he said.
Back said they have been locked out since 18 December.
“We’ve been on strike since 1 April. Since the onset the company had adopted starting us out, not having paid us what they owed us in 2019,” Back said.
He said they wanted to get rid of the old guards.
“With the covid-19 hitting in many countries, many pilots have lost there jobs. But now it depends on how quick things will turn around. The
majority in SAA will find it hard but a lot of pilots want to go abroad and seek new territories,” he said during an interview with ENCA.
“As far as SAA is concerned, it depends on level of expertise that the new management team brings on board.”
For SAA’s interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo, this is a “new and important chapter in SAA’s proud history”.
“It has always been our fervent wish that all employees, including all our pilots, become part of the journey as we travel towards new horizons,” he said. The negotiations have taken more than ten months.
The agreement sees SAA retaining 88 pilots from the total of 268 remaining pilots,”Kgokolo said as quoated by News24.
“Our pilots will now receive all monies due to them. We have already started the process to make payments that do not require tax directives.”
More than 200 SAA pilots have already taken voluntary severance packages during the airline’s business rescue process.
Back says they expect that about 290 will have to still be retrenched in order to leave the 88 envisioned in terms of the rescue plan.