Oh no not again!

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Aug 2nd, 2005, 05:32 PM
  #1
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Oh no not again!

Pilots Vow to Rid SAA of Its Bad Managers

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)
NEWS
July 31, 2005
Posted to the web August 1, 2005

By Roger Makings
Johannesburg

IF SAA thinks it is having a rough time now - it hasn't seen anything yet if the carrier's 800 pilots take industrial action in the coming weeks.

The SAA Pilots' Association says relations with management are at their lowest levels ever and that nothing will stand in their way of eradicating "bad management".

The coming weeks will be spent balloting members on whether industrial action should be taken and in what form. Their ire, which is not about pay, is aimed at thehierarchy which in nine months has emerged as the worst, they say, in the airline's history.

"We have said to the minister [Alex Irwin] and Khaya [Ngqula, SAA CEO] we will not stand for mismanagement and will use all means at its disposal to eliminate it," said Captain Piet Taljaard, chairman of SAAPA.

As examples, he cited the appalling manner in which the cabin-attendant strike had been handled, the appointment of staff not suited to the job and the well-documented extravagance of management.

"There are other serious contractual issues - management is constantly reinterpreting signed agreements - which we don't want to talk about yet. We have six issues before the CCMA with others waiting in the wings."

SAA said on Friday it will have a "full discussion with all its pilots" and other staff to review their conditions of work.

"This will be a fully consultative process that will start in earnest with the establishment of a joint task team between management and the unions next week," said acting general manager human resources, Viwe Mlenzana.

Which sets the scene for a resounding showdown.

The pilots say management is displaying an arrogance that will lead to conflict. It was significant that all the unions in the airline were "up in arms" with management. Staff were incensed with poor management and the growing problems.

"From the SAAPA side, of the letters I have written to Ngqula, not one has been replied to."

SAAPA has threatened to strike before, but it has never happened. Indications are that this time it is different - livelihoods are at stake, say pilots.

Another sticking point is that not one of the existing hierarchy has any length of service with the airline, and, with one exception, none has any previous airline experience.

"Pilots have a collective 12 500 years' service. This is our future. Most managers are appoin ted on contracts. They are not here for the long haul and won't have to live with the consequences of their decisions. We have never been worried about the future of SAA before, but we are now."

So why would a strike bypilots be worse for SAA than that of the cabin attendants?

Simply put, if the pilots don't work, nobody works.

Also, the financially sound SAAPA has an informed and competently staffed infrastructure. Its hundreds of members are well-paid and in a better position to weather the no-work, no-pay rule.

"Earlier this week several aircraft, with part-time attendants on board, were sent overseas to pick up stranded passengers. The anxious passengers wanted to know if SAA pilots were at the controls or whether other crews had been found," said Taljaard.

In an apparent reference to the issues Taljaard would not at this time discuss, he said: "We were there to fly them and they were happy. It is this pride and confidence in SAA cockpit crews that we are fighting for. Management is never going to take that away from us... or the passengers, ever."

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Aug 2nd, 2005, 05:38 PM
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Tasha,

I just may get that three weeks in London that I never wanted! Wow, what a disaster that would be if I couldn't get to Joburg on SAA.

I don't have it as bad as some would, however. I could always buy an economy flight from London to Lusaka on British Airways, and if I couldn't get to Johannesburg, I may just have to spend my final 7 nights that are intended for South Africa, instead in someplace like Kafue for 6 nights, with the final night at the Taj Pamodzi before flying back to London. THAT WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY TRAGIC!!!

Hehehe...don't know if I am in favor of an ongoing strike or a quick settlement.

What a HORRIBLE holiday I will have if they do not settle this thing quickly:

Kasaka River Lodge (3)
Chongwe River Camp (3)
Luangwa River Lodge (3)
Puku Ridge (3)
Lunga River Lodge (2)
Busanga Bush Camp (3)
Lunga River Lodge (1)
Taj Pamodzi (1)

Give me the name and contact info for the pilots union so I can tell them to hold out for every rand that they deserve!!!
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 05:39 PM
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(28 days and counting)
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 05:42 PM
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Another option would be to extend my time at Luangwa River Lodge by one night and then, if Kutandala had availability, fly up there for four nights, before returning to Lusaka.

Final option would be to fly down to Victoria Falls, transfer to Hwange, spend three nights at Makalolo Plains or Little Makalolo, spend two nights in Victoria Falls for the full moon of the 18th and then return to Lusaka for my final night at the Taj.

Tasha...please don't tease me like this!!!
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 05:47 PM
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Yeah, Kutandala would be wonderful...if it is unavailable, you might try for Lechwe Plains in Lochinvar. It would be an education in birding, lovely tents, great food (a few years ago when I was there, but I haven't spoken to anyone who has been there since.) I don't think it is one of the most popular stops since there are no predators, but it is lovely and very very relaxing.
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