Job loss looms for South African Airways staff

The reality of some or all the 5,000 staff of South African Airways losing their jobs could happen as soon as May 12. It still dependent on whether organised labour and workers will agree to severance packages already proposed by the rescue specialists or business rescue practitioners (BRP)

The airline entered a local form of bankruptcy protection last December in a last ditch effort to either save or liquidate the national carrier, which has not turned a profit since 2011.

The rainbow nations’ national carrier has been sustained with bailouts from the South African Treasury equating to more than R20 billion over the past three years.

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Last month, rescue specialists, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana had proposed severance packages for all staff, after the government announced additional funding.

But the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association, went to a labour court to try to block the cuts.

South Africa’s public enterprises ministry still looks to salvage some assets in some form or the bother. A move that became more difficult following the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the global airline industry. It is not clear what that will amount to, eventually. South Africa however needs a viable national carrier that is profit driven. A fact many believe can only happen with a public, private partnership.

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