The National Transport Movement (NTM) says a decision to shut down South African Airways (SAA) and form a new airline has been reached.
The union says the plan was confirmed on Tuesday during a meeting between SAA unions and Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan.
In terms of the agreement, the government will source R2.2 billion funding for severance packages.
The decision will result in the termination of all SAA employees’ contracts.
However, current airline’s staff will be given preference for employment in the new airline.
NTM president, Mashudu Raphetha says, “It is a very sad day for the whole of the Republic that SAA is now going to shut down and we are now going to witness the emergence of the new airline.”
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) did not want to be drawn on the decision to close down SAA.
However, the unions confirmed that negotiations with the government on the future of SAA are progressing well.
In the video below, Numsa Spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says SAA still has an important role to play:
Fair retrenchment package
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in a statement says they have the deepest respect and sympathy for the employees of SAA and that every effort should be made to afford them a fair retrenchment package.
They claim to have seen a letter where Gordhan calls for the moratorium on the retrenchments of SAA employees.
“It is now time for Minister Gordhan to remove himself from this process and allow Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, the SAA business rescue practitioners (BRPs) to do the work and make the decisions that they are mandated to do.”
Next 48 hours crucial
In a statement released on Tuesday, Numsa and Sacca note that the next 48-hours will be crucial in respect of the aforesaid initiative.
“During the next 48 hours, various further engagements will continue between Labour and Government on a technical and legal basis to find an appropriate solution which will be capable of constituting a constructive input towards the finalization of a Business Rescue Plan capable of adoption by all stakeholders.”
South African Cabin Crew Association earlier announced that they would be heading to court to reject retrenchments:
Below is a graphic on SAA fact sheet: