Four SAA unions accept severance packages



Four South African Airways unions and staff representatives have expressed an intention to sign voluntary severance packages (VSPs) offered as part of the airline’s business rescue and restructuring process.

This was on Thursday revealed by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), which said the process was a precursor to the formation of a viable, sustainable and competitive airline.

The proposed airline is expected to provide an integrated domestic, regional and international flight services.

The unions are the National Transport Movement (NTM), South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), Aviation Union of Southern Africa (AUSA), Solidarity, and representatives of SAA non-unionised managers and ground staff.

The representatives of the said stakeholders on Wednesday met the DPE and made the commitment that they would like to sign the VSPs, the department said.

“[The VSPs] can be offered to employees immediately after the creditors vote on the Business Rescue Plan on Tuesday 14 July 2020,” read a DPE statement.

During the meeting, unions and staff representatives are said to have supported the VSPs. These include one week calculated per year of completed service, one-month notice pay, accumulated leave paid out, a 13th Cheque and a top-up of severance packages calculated on a back-dated 5.9% wage increase which was agreed to in November last year.

Following requests by the four unions and staff representatives to accept the VSPs, the DPE said it will inform the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) of the development.

The SAA BRPs are next Tuesday expected to table a revised business plan, which is expected to be voted on by creditors on 14 July 2020.

A vote in favour of the plan by 75% of the voting interests and 50% of the independent voting interests would be required to carry the vote. A vote against the plan would result in protracted and costly liquidation of the airline, something representatives of NTM, SATAWU, AUSA, Solidarity, and SAA staff, said would be a long and painful ordeal.

At this stage, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the SA Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) and the SAA Pilots’ Association (SAAPA), have objected to the final VSPs available to SAA employees.

The DPE has reiterated that it is not in a position to accede to any further unreasonable and greedy demands from sections of union leadership for additional benefits.