NATIONAL NEWS - South African Airways’ biggest unions have called for investigations into the spending of SAA business rescue practioners as they question some decisions taken by the practitioners “that have not seem to succeed in rescuing SAA”.
SAA’s biggest unions also offered 49% in salary cuts for two months in efforts to save the cash-strapped state-owned entity.
Jointly, the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), South African Airways Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) and South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) also rejected the proposed selling of assets at SAA.
This after SAA business rescue practitioners (BRPs) Siviwe Dongwana and Les Mutton proposed for assets to be sold at SAA to patch up its expenses as government refused to offer yet another bail-out.
The BRPs spent R9.9-billion in the last six months and requested R7-billion more in saving SAA, which the government has refused to lend SAA.
The practitioners have since proposed the selling of assets.
The unions believed to get SAA off the ground once again, sacrifices needed to be made which included salary cuts.
In a joint statement the unions, however, said the business rescue practitioners rejected their proposal of salary cuts.
“This pay cut – to the tune of R82-million – was designed to buy enough time to restructure, size and reform SAA.
“We, as the major unions at SAA, are committed to working actively and constructively with Minister Gordhan in an effort to rescue our national carrier. We are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to do so.
“However, it appears no sacrifice will be enough to satisfy those who are intent on destroying SAA for whatever sinister reason,” the unions said.
Furthermore, the unions said they “completely lost faith” in the business rescue practitioners.
“It is noteworthy that another R1.4-million was taken out of SAA’s coffers by the BRPs as payment towards their lawyers to appeal the recent labour court case which prevented them from retrenching employees.
“By cutting SAA’s flights in February the BRPs crippled SAA’s revenue generating ability, while removing none of the overhead expenses.
“Since the national lockdown, the BRPs have failed to capitalise on numerous cargo flights and have allowed the SAA cargo department to use other airlines to carry SAA air freight. All this while SAA employees, planes and infrastructure stand idle.”
The union leadership of SACCA, NUMSA and SAAPA, who together represent more than 60% of SAA’s workers, have called for:
- A forensic audit and public finance management act investigation of all expenditure since the appointment of the BRPs;
- An immediate cessation of the BRP’s legal challenges and minimisation of consulting and legal fees; and
- If they are not willing to support the vision of a new national airline, the resignation of the BRPs and withdrawal of their legal advisors.
The unions added that they and the department of public enterprises formulated a strategic plan that outlines what the new national carrier might look like.
“This plan will ultimately take the form of a joined proposal for the rescue of our 85-year-old national airline.”