SAA’s cockpit demographics plan, as espoused in its latest cadet programme recruitment, faces another challenge from trade union Solidarity.
The union has already started work on legal action against the national carrier for failing to include a single white male in its 40 strong intake of cadets for this year. Now the Centurion headquartered labour organisation will approach the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in its ongoing effort to open the door to SAA pilot training to young white men.
“We have requested the HRC to facilitate a meeting with SAA about the airline’s controversial cadet programme,” Solidarity general secretary Dirk Hermann said.
This follows SAA apparently indicating to Solidarity it was willing to seek a solution to the dispute with possible legal action staring it in the face.
“Solutions to Constitutional issues should ideally be sought through dialogue.
“The Employment Equity Act forbids quotas of any kind in order to protect the non-designated group’s constitutional right to equality and dignity. In any affirmative action process, rights must be balanced. SAA cannot go about selectively with the Employment Equity Act. Solidarity cannot think of a better organisation than the HRC to facilitate such a dialogue. This matter is essentially a Constitutional and human rights issue and concerns everyone in the country. The HRC must not only investigate human rights violations, but also take preventive action. If the parties come to an agreement, it will serve as an example to South Africa that disputes can also be resolved outside court,” Hermann said.
The furore around the national carrier’s cadet programme started in August last year when it was reported that white applicants were being rejected across the board when applying. Soon afterwards SAA’s website was changed so that applications from white men would not be rejected.
The issue again came to the fore earlier this month when SAA said it has selected 14 Africans (10 men and four women); 10 Coloureds (nine men and one woman); nine Indians (seven men and two women) and seven white women from a shortlist of 271. More than 5 200 applications were received by SAA for the cadet programme.
The group has started training at 43 Air School in Eastern Cape.