The South African Airways (SAA) business rescue team has been granted leave to appeal the Labour Court’s judgment ordering them to set aside retrenchment notices at the airline.
In the matter brought forward by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca), Judge André van Niekerk ruled in favour of the unions’ dispute that the Section 189 retrenchment process at SAA was “procedurally unfair” because the BRPs had not published a business plan.
Van Niekerk held Numsa and Sacca’s argument that Section 136 of the Companies Act did not allow the SAA BRPs to retrench employees prior to those retrenchments being “contemplated in the business rescue plan”.
The airline has been under business rescue since December and the BRPs have not yet produced a business rescue plan.
In their appeal, business rescue practitioners (BRPs) Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana argued that given the disputes of law “there is a reasonable prospect that the facts would receive different treatment by the Labour Appeal Court”, adding that the judgment was also in conflict with an earlier ruling in the same court.
Moreover, they said, the case has “significant public interest and importance”.
“Our position in seeking leave to appeal on the basis that another court may come to a different decision has been accepted by this ruling,” said Matuson and Dongwana.
“We will seek an urgent date for the matter to be heard by the Labour Court.”