JOHANNESBURG - The SA Transport and Allied Trade Union (Satawu) has blasted the Air Line Pilots’ Association of SA (Alpa-SA) for passing a motion of no-confidence in SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni, saying the move was “a ploy by white pilots to perpetuate white supremacy” at the national carrier.
Of the 472 pilots who attended the meeting, 457 voted in favour of the motion.
“The association claims it is tabling this motion because [SAA board chairperson] Dudu Myeni, has on several occasions blamed the airline’s financial troubles on pilots’ exorbitant salaries,” the union said on Tuesday.
“The chairperson is right in pointing out that pilots are indeed an abyss. They have evergreen agreements that give them far too many unnecessary privileges.”
“Their salary increases are guaranteed at more than 20 percent every year, irrespective of the company’s financial position. They are paid in dollars regardless of where they fly in the world and stay at six-star hotels at the carrier’s expense.”
Members of Alpa-SA held a meeting in Kempton Park on Monday, at which they voiced their dissatisfaction with management at the troubled national carrier.
However, Satawu accused the pilots of preventing the entry of black pilots at the SAA’s pilot training programme.
“Out of the total 800 pilots (figure quoted in 2014) that fly for SAA, only 39 are black. The majority of these black pilots were trained in neighbouring countries including Swaziland and Lesotho.”
Myeni had Satawu’s full support and was correct in working to transform SAA, it said.
The airline suffered operating losses of R374 million last year.
Top managers told MPs in Parliament in September that financial burdens included an impairment of R1.2 billion the airline had to pay on delivery of ten aircraft over the past two years, as well as an increased reliance on state-guaranteed debt.
It was estimated that SAA’s debt costs could amount to R848 million in 2016.
The South African Allied Workers Union has labelled the Air Line Pilots’ Association act as racist.
African News Agency