Unions say they are happy to have secured a salary increase for the number of workers who will keep their jobs at the South African Airways (SAA). Six major labour unions and government reached an agreement on severance packages for SAA employees.

In a statement, the Department of Public Enterprise says all unions, except those representing pilots, have accepted the new Voluntary Severance Package deal.

About 2 700 employees will lose their jobs. However, the retrenchment packages will be supported by a social and skills development plan through SETA for those who will not be retained.

In the video below, unions say they are happy to secure more jobs for SAA employees. 

On the other hand, unions say the airline will retain 1 000 employees while an additional 1 000 will undergo training as part of a layoff scheme.

Numsa Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says the agreement speaks directly to their goals as unions.

“The fact that we’ve now come to a point where the DPE has agreed that the airline should start off, not with just 1 000 employees, but also accommodate an additional 1 000, speaks directly to our goals,” says Hlubi-Majola.

In the video below, Numsa says it will head to court to prevent SAA liquidation:

The South African Cabin Crew Association (SCCA) says it has advised its members who wish to accept severance packages and sign as individuals to do so. But for those who want to remain employed, there will be talks for them to keep their jobs.

“We didn’t see a need for any specific agreement to be signed as VSPS are a voluntary process. So, we have not opposed that was offered to our members on an individual capacity and of course, we find ourselves having access of about 3 000 people that remain. And we are saying we still want to engage with the DPE  in terms of reduced salaries, talk for those people who still want to be employed,” says SCCA president Zazi Nsibanyoni.

SAA went into business rescue in December 2019 following years of losses and multiple state bailouts.

Next week, the airline’s creditors will finally vote to accept or reject the rescue plan drawn up by the business rescue practitioners. A 75% vote in favour of the business rescue by the voting interests is required to carry the decision.

In the video below, Labour unions happy with the increased number of those who will retain jobs at SAA: