A South African Airways (SAA) Airbus A320 aircraft is pictured after landing at Cape Town International Airport. File picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association on Friday condemned a decision by the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) at troubled national airline SAA to cancel 11 routes, saying this would lead to job losses.

South African Airways' business rescuers announced on Thursday the carrier would cease its domestic routes for Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth with effect from March 1, saying key measures needed to be implemented immediately to conserve cash and create a viable platform for a successful future.

On Friday unions NUMSA and SACCA said the move would have a devastating impact on workers and their families because it effectively meant SAA operatios in Port Elizabeth, Durban and East London would be closed down and employees retrenched.

"No consultation whatsoever has taken place with labour as required by law and the BRP has acted in flagrant disregard of the provisions of the Labour Relations Act," they said in a joint statement.

"Instead of consultation, labour was merely informed of this decision and its devastating consequences in respect of job losses and the BRP’s even had the audacity to release the press statement announcing their decision, while we were still in the meeting discussing details!"

The unions said SAA was in crisis because of rampant mismanagement, looting and corruption which the government as the shareholder had failed to address.

"SAA’s biggest cost driver is not labour, it is the R25 billion per year procurement spend which, since 2015, has been exposed in various forensic reports as being the product of looting, corruption and mismanagement," they said.

African News Agency (ANA)