South Africa: SAA Employees Battle With Depression and Debt While the Airline Grapples With Restructuring

A South African Airways (SAA) plane (file photo).

The final proposal from the airline's business rescue practitioners proposes cutting 3,700 jobs at SAA. Many of the airline's employees have been getting UIF payments but their future is shrouded in uncertainty.

While SAA business rescue practitioners try to restructure the airline, staff members are contending with the loss of jobs and mounting debt.

The airline's business rescue practitioners, Siviwe Dongwana and Les Matuson, published a final rescue plan that proposed restructuring the airline by January 2021 and cutting 3,700 jobs to save costs.

This would entail 1,000 workers at the airline remaining employed once the airline has been restructured.

Adam*, who worked as a flight attendant at SAA for 40 years, has opted to take the voluntary severance package, but "feels that [SAA] could have treated us better".

Adam, who's in his 60s, was referring to the huge pay cut he had to take because of the prohibition on domestic and international flights during lockdown. Like many of his colleagues, he had to get money from the UIF Covid-19 Ters fund.

"From April until July I received R7,700. In August, I got R3,300. How could they expect an old man like me to pay his bills with just R7,000?"...

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