Trade unions have agreed to work with the government to ensure that a new financially viable and competitive airline emerges from the SAA business rescue process and that a consultative forum be established to advance dialogue and consultation on the process ahead.
It was one of the resolutions reached yesterday when Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, chair of the Interministerial Committee on South African Airways, and two members of the IMC, Minister of Labour and Employment, Thulas Nxesi, and Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, engaged with trade unions recognised in SAA, including representatives of the non-unionised employees, in a video conference.
They agreed that there would be a sharing of ideas on how best to ensure the wellbeing of employees and that there must be no dependence on the fiscus.
The unions accepted that in arriving at a solution for SAA, some jobs would be lost, and that employees who remained behind would need to sacrifice some of the unaffordable arrangements that had worsened the airline’s financial position. It was agreed that social plans would be developed to cushion the effect of job losses on the affected employees.
The IMC reiterated the reality that government was not in a position to provide more capital to SAA, and that all parties needed to commit to a creative solution for the airline to avoid a scenario where the business rescue was deemed to have failed.
The SAA labour unions were invited to submit their proposals on the restructuring of the national carrier and the future of jobs.
The unions reiterated that people who had been instrumental in the damage caused to the airline through corruption and mismanagement should be held to account.