SAA business rescuers blocked from issuing retrenchments 

Labour court rules against the process of issuing retrenchment notices, calling it 'procedurally unfair'.

The Labour Court on Friday ruled against South African Airways’ business rescuers going ahead with retrenching employees, saying that process for the issuing of retrenchment notices was ‘procedurally unfair’ and that the notices should be withdrawn. 

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) released a joint statement in which they welcomed the Labour Court's ruling, saying it was indeed unfair to retrench workers before a clear business rescue plan had been presented.

"We welcome the judgment. This basically means is that we have been vindicated. The court is re-affirming that the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) cannot retrench workers without a business rescue plan,” said the statement. 

"Furthermore, as Numsa and Sacca, we have exposed the true motives of the BRPs. We have said in our court papers that the proposal by the BRPs of a winding down of SAA, without even producing a draft business rescue plan, is nothing more than an extended gravy train for the BRP’s and their advisors."

SAA was put into business rescue late last year and has been faced with mounting challenges as the Covid-19 impact led to a significant loss of revenue. With the South African government refusing to grant any further bailouts to the now-bankrupt airline, preferring instead to start a new airline that will be able to compete in the future, Numsa and Sacca had said they are currently doing the work which the BRP's have consistently failed to do, which is to devise a turnaround strategy for SAA. 

“The BRPS appointed five months ago at great cost to the taxpayer they have produced nothing. Numsa and Sacca are currently doing the work, which they have consistently failed to do, which is to devise a turnaround strategy for SAA and we are working with the Department of Public Enterprises on this, and we urge them to join us," they said.