SAA restructuring: 220 managers leave

More than 220 managers will have left South African Airways (SAA) by the end of the month as part of the national airline’s restructuring strategy, its spokesperson said on Monday.

“SAA has approached the issue of labour in a phased manner, starting with management. At the level of management, we expect that 223 managers will have left SAA by October,” said Robyn Chalmers, spokesperson for SAA.

SAA, which suffered an R883-million loss in the year to March, said earlier this year that it planned to offload more than 2 230 workers in a bid to save R638-million.

“The aim is to achieve a profit margin of 7,5% in the coming 12 to 18 months,” said Chalmers.

Asked if SAA had begun retrenching workers, Chalmers said the airline had not started as it was still in negotiations with unions.

“We have not started with any retrenchments and this option is viewed by SAA as a last resort — the worst-case scenario,” she said.

SAA was unable to clarify how many of its pilots, managers or general staff workers would be dismissed if other options failed to reduce its operating-cost base.

“At this stage, we’re confident that negotiations will have a positive outcome and that retrenchments will not be necessary. However, if we are unable to close the 638 million rand gap, we will ensure that any retrenchments are done in a manner that will have the least disruption for the business,” said Chalmers. — I-Net Bridge

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