Numsa and Sacca among five unions who accepted SAA voluntary severance packages
According to the Public Enterprise Department, unions representing South African Airways (SAA) staff have agreed to accept voluntary severance packages which would result in about 2,700 employees being retrenched.
The Public Enterprises Department said that five unions, including the National Metalworkers Union of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca), had endorsed the plan.
In a statement, the department said that the position of the SAA Pilots' Association was the only one that was not yet clear.
Clement Manyathela speaks to Public Enterprises Department acting director-general Kgathatso Tlhakudi who says the department had to bring across to the unions that the funds that need to be spent are the funds that the government would have to raise.
SAA is not in a position to fund these packages and the packages that they were demanding. We managed to get through to Numsa and Sacca. We said that we will look at the layoff scheme to see whether we cannot accomodate more people on that scheme.Kgathatso Tlhakudi, Acting director-general - Public Enterprises Department
He says as the travel market recovers, the company would be able to reabsorb those people into the business.
The department could not get through to the SAA Pilots' Association who would be getting a large share of the severance package, he says.
They are not accepting 45% of the severance package budget and they wanted further improvements in the severance package for their members and in some instances, they wanted up to 60% improvement.Kgathatso Tlhakudi, Acting director-general - Public Enterprises Department
We could not accept such terms, we believe that they are unreasonable and what they are demanding is unaffordable and was not taking into consideration the state of the airline which is in financial trouble.Kgathatso Tlhakudi, Acting director-general - Public Enterprises Department
He says government and the unions met each other halfway so that these decisions can be made.
Before we didn't have a temporary layoff scheme, we only had 1,000 employees. But we have said that we can keep 1,000 employees on the scheme and that resonated with Sacca and Numsa.Kgathatso Tlhakudi, Acting director-general - Public Enterprises Department
Listen below to the full conversation:
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