South African Airways said yesterday that it had started dispensing the first portions of payments to workers who took voluntary severance packages at the end of August last year. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
South African Airways said yesterday that it had started dispensing the first portions of payments to workers who took voluntary severance packages at the end of August last year. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

SAA starts dispensing severance packages to crew and staff

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Feb 17, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - SOUTH African Airways (SAA) said yesterday that it had started dispensing the first portions of payments to workers who took voluntary severance packages (VSPs) at the end of August last year.

SAA business rescue practitioners said they would pay the first portion of VSPs to the airline's management, specialists and pilots today.

This follows the first portion of payment made to cabin crew members and ground staff employees on Friday.

Cabin crew and ground staff workers were paid one month's notice payment, full entitlement of accrued leave, pro rata 13th cheque and the 2019 salary increase of 5.9 percent backpay.

SAA business rescue practitioners said the payment was made after they received a further tranche of R5 billion from the Department of Public Enterprises last week.

The rescuers have now received a total of R7.8bn in funding to implement the airline's business rescue plan.

Rescuer Siviwe Dongwana said the remuneration elements for this category of management and pilot workers would include one week's remuneration for each completed year of service, VSP top up and incentive, if applicable.

Dongwana said the second payment of VSPs to this category of workers shall be made on Friday, February 19. “The payment of VSPs in two parts is in line with the signed voluntary severance terminations agreement,” Dongwana said.

The VSP programme included 3 246 employee acceptances across all categories and closed at the end of August 2020.

Employees who signed the VSPs effectively concluded their employment with SAA and exited the company at that time.

The rescuers also said they made

Tranche 4 payments to 164 former SAA employees who accepted the 3-month salary settlement agreement and 13th cheque payment to 53 nonVSP employees.

They said a total of 82 percent of employees had been paid in terms of the settlement agreement.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola confirmed that payment of VSPs were made to those employees who voluntarily applied for them.

Hlubi-Majola, however, said this was not the same as the outstanding claim on salaries, which Numsa and SA Cabin Crew Association members were still owed. “That money is still outstanding. We lost at labour court last week, but we lost the urgent application,” Hlubi-Majola said.

“Our members still have the right to claim and they intend to claim in full once the business rescue process has come to an end.”

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