Two of the biggest unions representing SAA employees have filed an urgent application to stop planned job cuts at the struggling airline, according to a report from EWN.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) have jointly approached the Johannesburg Labour Court in an attempt to prevent business rescue practitioners (BRPs) from taking steps to retrench workers at SAA.
SAA business rescue practitioners Siviwe Dongwana and Les Matuson announced last week that a number of jobs at SAA would have to be cut as part of their turnaround strategy for the carrier.
Numsa’s national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the application was expected to be heard on Thursday.
Reaction to turnaround announcement
Various politicians and stakeholders have responded to news of the turnaround plans, which included the cutting of several domestic flight routes from SAA’s offering.
In an interview with eNCA, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government was opposed to the move, as it believes SAA is an “economic enabler”.
“We want to find out what the rationale is and we want to have a discussion with them,” Ramaphosa stated.
Contrary to the President, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe told The Sunday Times that the government should sell SAA. Mantashe stated that the airline is only for the “elites.”
“If it is always asking for money and it does not fly the working class but only elites… [subsidising them] is not subsidising the working class,” Mantashe said.
He said that if SAA was to survive it should make money, and if it can’t it must be closed down.
“We can’t throw R2 billion every month to SAA, we have given R3.2 billion in December but still they can’t survive. It’s a travesty of justice,” he added.