File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Johannesburg - In a bid to turn South African Airways' (SAA) finances around, the airline confirmed its managers will not receive salary increases this year. 

This was due to financial constraints currently facing the embattled airliner. 

An employee, who wished to remain anonymous, detailed how middle management had been told earlier on in the year that no salary increases would be granted to any SAA workers due to company's poor performance. 

This reportedly then changed, with managers being told this would only affect them and not labourers. 

Top management had reportedly opted to forgo increases in the face of SAA's financial woes.

The irate employee then questioned why, if SAA was facing constraints, were lower-level workers set to get a 6% increase while managers were not. 

Responding to this was SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali, who confirmed the decision to not grant middle management increases this year. 

"Managers were advised in writing that no salary increases would be paid to them this year due to the financial constraints of the company. 

"Labour was also advised of this position earlier in the year. Based on negotiations with recognised unions, an agreement was eventually reached on a 6% salary increase."

These unions included: The Aviation Union of Southern Africa (Ausa) in SAA Technical; National Transport Movement in SAA; the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in SAA Technical; SAA Pilots Association (Saapa) and South African Transport & Workers Union (Satawu) in SAA Technical. 

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Tlali explained that managers were the only ones affected as the national carrier wanted them to "lead by example and demonstrate the severity of the financial constraints on the company". 

Executives meanwhile, agreed to reduce their salaries by 5% from October 2017.

Questioned on whether this would be permanently implemented, Tlali explained that the appointment of a new permanent chief executive officer, joining SAA on November 1, 2017 would hopefully see challenges facing the airline tackled.  

"The implementation/ execution of the Corporate Plan with a stable leadership in the company is intended to address the current challenges facing the airline and we trust that through the implementation of the plan, we will not need to request employees to make sacrifices of this nature."

SAA's financial state has constantly come under the spotlight, with the continued bailouts extended to the national carrier constantly coming under criticism. 

In the latest, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba dipped into the National Revenue Fund to give SAA R3 billion to prevent it defaulting on its loan from Citibank.

The latest bailout caused an outrage, with the Democratic Alliance claiming it was in breach of public finance rules.