SAA unions divided on final offer from govt for voluntary severance packages

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SAA unions divided on final offer from govt for voluntary severance packages

The about 4 700 employees of South African Airways have received a final offer for voluntary severance packages from the state-owned airline’s shareholder, the Department of Public Enterprises.

According to the DPE, the proposal will be supported by a social plan, which includes a skills development programme.

The department’s voluntary severance proposal includes one week per year of completed service, one month notice pay, accumulated leave paid out, a 13th cheque and a “top-up” amount.

“My message to unions is that this is crunch time. The DPE’s offer will give employees a better deal. They will at least get something, especially since we are seeing more opportunities in future when SAA will rise again,” Kgathatso Tlhakudi, acting director-general of the Department of Public Enterprises told Fin24 on Wednesday.

SAA employees have not received salaries since 1 May when the rescue practitioners indicated that funds for the rescue process had run out. In mid-April the DPE indicated that the state will not provide any more funds for the rescue process.

The voluntary severance packages proposed by the DPE can be offered to employees immediately once the airline’s creditors accept a rescue plan proposed by its business rescue practitioners.

A creditors’ meeting is set for Thursday to vote on the rescue plan. Creditors can chose to accept it, review it, or reject it.

The department says it wants to see the rescue plan accepted and help creditors and employees “be co-creators of a new airline and ensure a strong base is maintained for the growth of the local aviation industry”.

The rescue plan proposed by the business rescue practitioners provides for the retention of only 1 000 of SAA‘s current employees, and sets aside R2.2 billion for retrenchment packages. Staff numbers could increase if the “new” airline grows.

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