South African Airways (SAA) workers' unions have threatened to take a legal route in their battle with the government over a looming threat to liquidate the airline. File picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters
South African Airways (SAA) workers' unions have threatened to take a legal route in their battle with the government over a looming threat to liquidate the airline. File picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters

Unions threaten court action over threat to liquidate SAA

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Jul 6, 2020

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DURBAN - South African Airways (SAA) workers' unions have threatened to take a legal route in their battle with the government over a looming threat to liquidate the airline ahead of the creditors meeting to vote on the proposed business rescue plan.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) said yesterday that they were shocked by the National Treasury showing support for the liquidation of SAA.

Treasury told Parliament on Friday that there was “no further action” planned to bail out SAA except to settle guaranteed debt.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni did not allocate new bailouts for the loss-making state airline in an emergency Budget last week and declined to outline reasons why.

Numsa and Sacca said they do not accept that the airline can be liquidated without the approval of Parliament.

“We have accordingly instructed our lawyers to prepare a legal challenge in order to ensure that those who are intent on liquidating SAA will be stopped in their tracks and workers can be assured that we will leave no stone unturned in protecting their rights and interests in these difficult times,” they said.

SAA rescuers Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana are expected to table a revised business rescue plan tomorrow, which proposes a R27 billion government bailout and will be voted on by creditors a week later.

The government has offered R2.2 billion for voluntary severance packages to 3700 SAA workers, saying that liquidation would be costly and protracted.

It said some unions and staff representatives supported the severance packages except for Numsa, Sacca and the SAA Pilots Association.

The unions called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to immediately intervene, saying Mboweni’s actions had compromised the independence and credibility of the imminent vote on the SAA business rescue plan.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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