SAA BRP’s retrenchment process unlawful: Numsa

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has slammed as unlawful the process that is being used by the South African Airways‘ (SAA) Business Rescue Practitioners to offer workers retrenchment packages.

Numsa and the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) have applied for an interdict in the Labour Court in Johannesburg. They want the court to stop the airline’s Business Rescue Practitioners from proceeding with layoffs.

Numsa has advised its members to reject the retrenchment packages.

The union spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, says the BRP wants employees to terminate their employment with effect from April the 30th.

” We are applying for an urgent application and we are requesting that the court block the Business Rescue Practitioners from proceeding with retrenchments at SAA. The BRP’s before they can proceed with any retrenchments they have a duty to produce a business rescue plan. And since the middle of March they have served employees at SAA with section 189 notices and we believe that this entire process is unlawful and this is why we have made an application at the Labour Appeals Court.”

In April, the Business Rescue Practitioners said they had run out of funds to keep the airline going.

‘SAA can be saved’

Despite this, however, unions at SAA have expressed optimism that the airline can be saved if government scraps its historical debt. The unions made the remark after a meeting with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in a bid to avoid the liquidation of both SAA and SA Express.

“We working and taking various suggestions on how we can save SAA and in what form SAA will continue to exist. What we’d like to see is obviously a brand new fit for purpose management, a brand new board that will involve unions and obviously investment from a strategic equity partner. We’d also like to see government clearing the historical debt and allow SAA to retain most of the employees,” SACCA president, Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi, has said while outlining how the airline can be salvaged.

In the video below, Nsibanyoni-Mugambi speaks on the union’s stance regarding the looming retrenchments:

‘A fair retrenchment package’

Last week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in a statement urged Minister Gordhan to remove himself from the SAA business rescue process.

The party wants the airline liquidated. It has urged the Business Rescue Practitioners to find a fair retrenchment package for workers.