SAA BRPs extension on business rescue plan

Image via flickr

SAA layoffs: Numsa, Sacca loses court bid to halt job cuts

The courts scoffed the unions’ urgent interdict as irrelevant.

SAA BRPs extension on business rescue plan

Image via flickr

The Labour Court in Johannesburg has dismissed an interdict filed by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) to halt the impending retrenchments at South African Airways (SAA).

Trade unions suffer loss in fight to keep workers’ jobs

The unions approached the courts earlier in the week to force SAA out of taking necessary measures to conserve cash. This, according to Numsa and Sacca, includes retrenching staff as early as the end of February.

SAA’s business rescue practitioner revealed, early in February, that as a contingency measure of supporting the national carrier’s transformation into a sustainable and profitable business, certain domestic and international routes — with Johannesburg-to-Cape Town being the exception — had to be cancelled.

This announcement was also accompanied by a harsh reality for SAA employees. The carrier revealed that the turnaround strategy, unfortunately, may include “a necessary reduction in the number of employees.”

Represented by Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) legal maestro, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, the unions took this up with the court and filed an urgent interdict, claiming that SAA has flouted the Labour Relations Act in its bid to retrench workers.

Ngcukaitobi argued that there is evidence that proves that SAA did not follow due process in its decision to cut jobs. The act stipulates that an employer can’t launch a retrenchment process before giving employees 60 days prior notice.

The unions submitted video evidence in court which showed an SAA manager from Durban informing workers that they did not need to report for duty at the end of February.

Ngcukaitobi argued that this is solid proof that SAA seeks to lay off its staff within the 60-day period.

However, the courts scoffed this off as irrelevant and moved to dismiss the unions’ interdict application.

SAA denies ‘accelerated’ retrenchments, does not rule out possibility

The national carrier has vehemently denied claims that it has launched ‘accelerated’ retrenchment plans. However, SAA has not ruled out the possibility of job cuts if the measure is deemed necessary by the business rescue practitioner.

At this time, no word has been received from the unions’ end about the next steps in their fight to save workers’ jobs. SAA, on the other hand, has vowed to comply with the Labour Relations Act as well as its Training Lay-Off Scheme should the turnaround strategy necessitate mass job cuts.