Unions to 'stop in their tracks' anyone intent on shutting down SAA

05 July 2020 - 09:46 By TimesLIVE
The government says it is working closely with SAA to keep the airline operating.
The government says it is working closely with SAA to keep the airline operating.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) have briefed lawyers to oppose the liquidation of SA Airways.

They “noted with absolute shock and dismay” in a statement on Sunday comments attributed to finance minister Tito Mboweni and the National Treasury to the effect that SAA and other entities such as SA Express should be closed down.

“Mboweni has effectively confirmed that he supports the liquidation of SAA and SA Express,” they said.

This position, they added, contradicted that of the department of public enterprises which was against the liquidation of SAA.

“Mboweni made his intentions very clear at an investor conference last year, that his wish was that SAA be liquidated and should be given to specific people,” they charged.

“Numsa and Sacca most certainly do not accept that the airline can be liquidated without, at the very least, such liquidation being approved by parliament. We have accordingly instructed our lawyers to prepare a legal challenge in order to ensure that those who are intent on liquidating South African Airways will be stopped in their tracks and workers can be assured that we will leave no stone unturned in protecting their rights and interests in these difficult times.”

The department of public enterprises, SAA’s shareholder, has urged employees, labour unions and creditors to support the business rescue plan for the national carrier, saying a “vote against the plan would result in the protracted and costly liquidation” of it.

This, it added, would “lead to financial hardship for employees and substantial undervaluation of assets”.