The SAA business rescue practitioners’ decision to cancel 11 routes prompted a response from two labour unions representing the airline’s staff members on Friday as it would lead to the employees being retrenched, reports TimesLive.

As of 29 February, SAA will stop flying local routes to Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, the practitioners announced on Thursday.

The practitioners said that some employees are going to have to be retrenched although an “effort was being taken to limit the effect of job losses in SAA and its subsidiaries”.

The National Union of Metalworkers of  SA (Numsa) and the SA Airways Cabin Crew Association(Saacca)  said employees losing their jobs would be hard on them and their families since the routes were cancelled.

“The business rescue practitioners violated the Labour Relations Act since no talks had taken place with labour as required by law.”

The unions said labour was merely informed of the decision and it was alerting that the practitioners did not provide “any rational basis” to cancel the routes

The unions said the practitioners had failed to produce a business rescue plan and were ignoring ways to save the airline money.

“SAA has spend R25bn per year since 2015 because of looting, corruption and mismanagement which shows that most money was not spend on labour.”

The unions said the practitioners opted against “suspending, cancelling, renegotiating or in source” the employees’ contracts to save money.

“Unfortunately this work has been suspended since business rescue was announced.”

The unions said they had instructed their attorneys to explore all legal avenues available to them.

“We want to assure our members and workers at SAA that the battle is not over. We remain committed to doing everything legally possible to reverse these unlawful retrenchments which are being imposed on workers.”

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