Pilots not Dudu Myeni the problem at SAA - SATAWU

Union condemns airline pilots' association for tabling motion of no confidence in SOE's board

SATAWU responds to spoiled SAA pilots attempt to maintain their ill-gotten apartheid privilege

16 November 2015

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) condemns in the strongest terms today’s meeting of the Air Line Pilots’ Association of SA (Alpa-SA).

The sole intention of the meeting called by the SAA branch of Alpa-SA was to table a motion of no confidence in the SAA board. 

As a union that organises workers in the sector, Satawu views this move as nothing but a ploy by white pilots to perpetuate white supremacy at the national carrier.

The association claims it is tabling this motion because Chairperson, Dudu Myeni, has on several occasions blamed the airline’s financial troubles on pilots’ exorbitant salaries.

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 20% every year, irrespective of the company’s financial position. They are paid in dollars regardless of where they fly in the world. They stay at six-star hotels at the carrier’s expense. Plus, they do not stay at the same hotels as the rest of the crew because they regard them as inferior. Whenever they choose, they can offload a paying customer from a business class seat to make room for their family members to accompany them on trips. It’s a fact; they are overpaid and are a drain on the company.           

Worse still, these white pilots are gatekeeping the entry of aspirant young black pilots into the airline’s 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.

Meanwhile, white pilots’ children are allowed into the cockpit when they accompany their parents on trips. This naturally puts them at an advantage to their less fortunate black counterparts for selection into the training programme.   

The chairperson is right to push the transformation agenda of SAA and she has our full support on the matter. Racist pilots must leave SAA. If they are so skilled, why don’t the find work elsewhere?

They have no respect for a black person, let alone a black woman who is the chair of the board. The pilots must be recognised for what they are – mere drivers who want to continue enjoying the same privileges they did under the apartheid government. Their attitude and behaviour is appalling.

Anyone who stands against transformation must be crushed – such people are enemies of the people of South Africa.

Statement issued by SATAWU, 16 November 2015