BusinessLive reports that the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) has reserved judgment after hearing arguments on behalf of the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) for SA Airways (SAA) and the airline’s unions on whether employees could be retrenched before finalisation of a rescue plan.
In April, after being informed by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan that the government had no more money available to restructure the airline, the BRPs issued notices of impending retrenchments at SAA.
The notices were set aside by the Labour Court after an application by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Saaca). SAA has been in business rescue for six months, but the process has not been completed due to ongoing delays in finalising the business rescue plan.
The proposed business plan was scheduled to be put to a vote on Thursday, 2 July, but a decision was postponed until 14 July. If the plan is rejected and an alternative is not proposed, SAA will be placed in provisional liquidation. The BRPs argued before the LAC that there was now a business rescue plan and that the interdict on retrenchments needed to be lifted, otherwise the 60-day consultation period would have to start from scratch. The unions’ lawyer argued that employees were entitled to participate in the development of a rescue plan, and that retrenching them before publishing a plan would defeat their interest in the matter.