South African Airways (SAA) has dismissed allegations that it has a bloated management team that costs R300 million per year.
National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola recently said the new SAA has 250 managers managing 750 staff at the cost of R300 million.
Hlubi-Majola added that ordinary workers had to take a 35% pay cut and lost many benefits, including medical aid. Management, in comparison, enjoyed salary increases.
She alleged that SAA workers’ salaries are benchmarked against a low-cost airline like Mango. Executive salaries, she said, were benchmarked against international standards.
SAA spokesperson Vimla Maistry dismissed Hlubi-Majola’s allegations about the number of managers and their salary bill.
“SAA has 70 managers and 64 specialists who do not manage any people but do technical work. Their cost to the organisation is nowhere near the R300 million reported,” Maistry said.
Commenting on the new SAA salaries, Maistry said the pay packages of ground staff and cabin crew were indeed benchmarked against Mango.
“Mango was the only available source of information as other airlines would not disclose their salaries as they considered that their competitive advantage,” said Maistry.
“Executive salary scales were downgraded by up to 40% from what emerged in the national benchmarks, and there was no international benchmarking done, only local.”
She highlighted that SAA benchmarked management salaries, and it applied a 20% reduction to the results of the benchmarks.
“Because management had not had an increase in three years, their salaries were already low, and a result was that even with the reduced scales, there was little room to reduce further,” Maistry said.