Numsa to approach court again to compel SAA to consult workers over retrenchments

25 February 2020 - 12:39
By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Numsa has threatened to head back to court.
Image: The Times/Moeletsi Mabe Numsa has threatened to head back to court.

Representatives of workers at embattled SAA have threatened to approach the courts for the second time to force the airline to consult workers before publicising business-rescue plans.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) are set to take legal action against the business rescue practitioners (BRP).

Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, Numsa spokesperson, said they had written to the BRPs at SAA to stop them making public their business rescue plans on March 6 before having done the following:

“Disclosed all relevant documentation to allow workers to engage in meaningful consultation pertaining to the business and affairs of SAA. Consulted with workers and disclosed the draft BR plan so that we may make submissions and propose possible alternatives.

“Allowed workers sufficient opportunity to review the plan in order that they may make submissions or propose alternatives,” Hlubi-Majola said.

On Friday, the labour court dismissed the union’s application to compel SAA to consult employees pending retrenchments.

Hlubi-Majola said they believe there are various aspects of the Companies Act which have been flouted by the BRPs in relation to the rights of workers during this process.

“As we speak, an attempt is being made to railroad our members into accepting changes to their terms and conditions of employment. The BRPs have sent letters to employees who will be affected by the closure of the 11 routes, compelling them to agree to drastically reduced hours.

“They will be working three or four days a week. We have advised our members not to sign these agreements as these are a direct violation of their rights in terms of the labour law.”

Hlubi-Majola said if the union received no response to its letter by the close of business on Tuesday, “we will have no choice but to approach the high court to interdict them from publishing the final business rescue plan".

“This is the second time that we are preparing to approach the courts to enforce the rights of all workers at SAA after the labour court handed down an adverse finding against us. This is a matter we hope to appeal at the labour appeals court and we have petitioned it for direct access,” she said.