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South African Airways pilots consider strike action due to financial woes

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A majority of cash-strapped South African Airways’ 635 pilots are ready to ground the planes until a lasting solution is found to the carrier’s financial malaise.

The association said this on Thursday, 26 September 2019, when they shared the results of an internal survey of its members, which it said was carried out by an independent service provider.

According to the South African Airways Pilots’ Association (SAAPA), 90 percent of the 516 members who participated in the survey were in favour of going on strike to force change within the struggling debt-ridden national flag carrier. The association has a total membership of 635 pilots.

The pilots were, however, quick to point out that should they embark on clipping their wings, such an action would be legally mandated.

“It needs to be understood that the decision to embark on industrial action is not one that the pilots of SAA will take lightly.

“Indeed, if such a strike is embarked upon, it would be for the first time in SAA’s 80-year history,” SAAPA said.

The loss-making airline needs about 1.6 billion dollars to remain afloat in the next two years, according to the National Treasury which has just funded it with 400 million dollars to keep it functioning.

Calls from some lawmakers to have the airline privatised has met deaf ears from government, which takes the flag carrier’s existence as a source of pride for the country.



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