SAA labor unions accept severance packages

Labor unions and representatives of non-unionized managers and ground staff at South African Airways agreed to accept voluntary-severance packages before the state-owned carrier’s proposed restructuring.

Only the South African Airways Pilots Association hasn’t agreed to the plans, and will pursue a parallel process to consult the airline’s administrators, the Department of Public Enterprises said in a statement.

Six other unions, including the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Airways Cabin Crew Association, endorsed the offer following talks on Tuesday.

Employees who stand to lose their jobs will be supported by a social plan and skills development programme.

Around 1,000 South African Airways staff will be retained and roughly 2,700 jobs will be cut, the department said. Those being dismissed will have access to the voluntary-severance packages after creditors approve the airline’s business rescue plan.

SAA was placed in a local form of bankruptcy protection in December. After frequent clashes between the government and administrators over restructuring proposals, a plan was announced last month to avoid liquidation and lay the groundwork for a revamped carrier.

The rescue plan would require at least R26.7 billion ($1.6 billion) of state funding.

Read: Government and unions at loggerheads over SAA

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SAA labor unions accept severance packages