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Unions still concerned despite new lease of life for SAA

About 2,700 workers will be retrenched and paid severance packages while 1,000 workers will be retained.

FILE: Numsa and South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) members picket at the SAA Airways Park in Kempton Park on 15 November 2019. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) said that while having endorsed the South African Airways (SAA) business rescue plan, they still had a number of issues with what had been decided.

This includes the appointment of Phillip Saunders, SAA’s current commercial chief, as the airline's new interim chief executive officer (CEO).

The Department of Public Enterprises said that it had faith in Saunders being able to lead the restructured airline.

Numsa and Sacca are two of the biggest unions at SAA who have been at odds with the business rescue practitioners.

About 2,700 workers will be retrenched and paid severance packages while 1,000 workers will be retained.

Numsa’s Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said that retrenchments were not ideal and must be done right.

“Neither the board nor the executive management, not even the DPE had intervened to stop the rot.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA)’s spokesperson on Public Enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia, said that this was a mistake.

“It will just be a re-run of successive bailouts at the expense of the taxpayer which this country can ill-afford.”

Unions said that they also wanted to serve on the new board.

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