The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is set to approach the courts in a bid to save more than 1,800 jobs.
The possible court action comes after the South African Airways Technical (SAAT) recently issued termination notices to its workers, Jacaranda FM reported.
According to Numsa, SAAT – which is a subsidiary of state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA) – is planning to retrench 75% of its staff members.
“SAAT was initially contemplating retrenching 1,443 staff in order to retain only 857 people. But they increased the proposed number of job cuts to 1,850.
“We rejected this proposal because we felt they had provided no rationale. However, they are imposing the decision and from the 18th of October they issued termination letters to staff. For some workers, these notices will come into effect on the 18th of November,” Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said.
The union’s potential move also comes after the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) suspended the retrenchment process back in July.
The suspension was due to the SAAT’s management failing to give reasons on how it planned to finance the workers’ retrenchment packages.
Hlubi-Majola has since argued that SAAT did not follow the proper processes when the company announced they were going to cut more jobs, further accusing management of “being opportunistic”.
“Given that they increased the number of retrenchments, SAAT should have issued a fresh section 189 notice, or through the CCMA, they should have started a new round of consultations because the rationale has changed.
“We wrote to the SAAT management expressing our concerns, but they continued with the termination process,” she added.
Mango’s death sentence
More jobs at another SAA subsidiary, Mango, may be lost.
A recent leaked correspondence revealed that SAA and the Department of Public Enterprises have no plans to allow Mango back in the sky.
This could mean the end of Mango and all 709 jobs soon.
Numsa had previously urged the department and SAA’s management to put the airline’s subsidiaries in business rescue at the same time as SAA.
SAA was placed on business rescue in December 2019.
In Mango’s case, the airline went into business rescue in July this year after failing to meet its financial obligations.
According to Fin24, Mango is about R2.5 billion in debt.
This includes about R718 million owed to SAAT, R156 million to Airports Company SA (ACSA) and R57 million owed to Air Traffic Navigation Services.
Additional reporting by Hein Kaiser