Government says it is pleased that labour unions and representatives of non-unionised managers and ground staff, have agreed to accept the South African Airways (SAA) voluntary severance packages (VSPs).

The VSP will be supported by a social plan and skills development programme for employees who will be retrenched.

During a Labour Consultative Forum (LCF) meeting this week, the parties agreed that they had no objection to SAA and Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) offering to individual employees a voluntary severance package as proposed by the DPE.

In terms of the new agreement, 1 000 SAA employees will be retained,while around 2 700 will be retrenched and will be able to access the severance packages as soon as a business rescue plan (BRP) for SAA is endorsed by a creditor’s vote.

However, the position of the SAA Pilots Association (SAAPA) in respect of the severance package remains unclear at this stage.

SAAPA indicated that they do not oppose the meeting outcome but are seeking to embark on a parallel process through which they want to consult the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) for SAA about the severance packages.

The DPE welcomed the endorsement of the VSPs by the National Transport Movement (NTM), the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), the Aviation Union of Southern Africa (AUSA), Solidarity, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the South African Airways Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and representatives of SAA non-unionised managers and ground staff.

SAA to be transformed into a new competitive airline:

 

The DPE said that SAA will be transformed into a new competitive airline. The department explained that they were working with an international aviation firm to assist with the formation of a new airline to replace SAA.

It said that Minister Pravin Gordhan had successfully achieved a “leadership compact” with labour unions aimed at ensuring a “smooth transition” to a new SAA with a performance-based culture.

SAA employees will go through a process of preferential re-employment and re-skilling to ensure the airline’s financial sustainability and international competitiveness.