Labour unions meet with government to discuss SAA

Unions agree that, in finding a solution to the airline's financial woes, jobs will be lost.

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) recently met with labour unions to discuss the South African Airways’ (SAA) financial woes. Last week, the airline sent its staff a draft proposal to terminate contracts and pay severance packages from the sale of its assets, giving staff until Friday to accept the offer. 

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) released a statement explaining, among other things, that unions come to an understanding with the government and was on board with the plan to ensure that a new financially viable and competitive airline emerges from the business rescue process that beleaguered airline is currently undergoing.  

The meeting was attended by DPE Minister Pravin Gordon, who was chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on SAA, Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi, and Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. 

It was also agreed that a consultative forum would be established to advance dialogue and consultation on the process ahead. 

“There will be a sharing of ideas on how best to ensure the wellbeing of employees at this challenging time, and that there must be no dependence on the fiscus,” said the DPE in its media release. 

“The Unions agreed that, in arriving at a solution for SAA, some jobs will be lost and that employees that remain behind will need to sacrifice some of the unaffordable arrangements that had worsened the airline’s financial position. It was agreed that social plans will be developed to cushion the effect of losing jobs on the affected employees.”