BL Premium reports that the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) of South African Airways (SAA) are to appeal Friday’s judgment in which the Labour Court set aside retrenchment notices issued to employees on the grounds that these were procedurally unfair.
Judge André van Niekerk ruled in favour of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca), which maintained that a BRP must first present a business rescue plan before issuing notice of the intention to commence consultation on retrenchments. As it was common cause that no business rescue plan had been issued, Judge Van Niekerk set the notices aside as being procedurally unfair.
SAA has been in business rescue since 5 December. Under the Companies Act, a BRP must present a plan to creditors within 30 days.
The BRPs, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, have had several extensions, but were told by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on 10 April that the government could not provide any further funding for the rescue process. The BRPs said that this left them with only two options: a structured wind-down, in which assets are sold and employees paid retrenchment packages with any cash realised, or liquidation.
However, Gordhan has said he will not allow either option. Numsa and Sacca, which along with other trade unions have agreed a leadership compact with Gordhan to establish a new airline, have also urged Matuson and Dongwana to consider the jointly agreed plan.