FILE PHOTO: A South African Airways (SAA) plane is towed at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg
FILE PHOTO: A South African Airways (SAA) plane is towed at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg

Unions may approach Parliament to stop 3700 job losses at SAA

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Jun 30, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - SAA unions have threatened to approach Parliament to stop the loss of 3 700 jobs following the collapse of their restructuring platform with the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca), and the SAA Pilots’ Association (Saapa) said yesterday that they were not surprised by the government’s decision to exit the negotiations with labour.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said they may approach the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to find permanent solutions to SAA’s problems.

“Numsa, Sacca and Saapa might be left with no option but to address Scopa and all political parties, as we have written to the ANC calling for their intervention as a majority party.

“We remain firm in our search for a solution that will save our nation’s airline and ensure a restructured viable restructured airline.”

On Sunday, the DPE withdrew its participation from the Leadership Consultative Forum (LCF) after fictitious consultation between the parties.

The LFC is a mechanism formed to facilitate employee engagement towards the development of an operating model for a restructured SAA.

The DPE said the forum was not serving its intended purpose after the unions and privately owned SA Airlink pushed for the adjournment of the creditors’ meeting to vote on SAA’s business rescue plan.

SAA’s rescuers have proposed that the government inject R26.7billion to settle SAA’s current liabilities and for further funding of the restructured airline.

The rescue plan said R2.8bn would get SAA flying again, R2.2bn to reduce the headcount to 1000 employees from about 4800.

The unions said they could not allow job losses when there was a perfectly viable plan to save SAA.

“We have presented a viable plan. For example, our plan takes stock of the challenges in the international market,” Hlubi-Majola said.

“The plan is also based on codeshare, a strategy that allows SAA to service its international customers without having to operate its own planes, and later on as the market picks up after Covid-19, consider economical joint ventures.”


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