South African Airways administrators can appeal layoff ruling – court

JOHANNESBURG, May 25 (Reuters) – Administrators at South African Airways (SAA) can appeal a Labour Court ruling ordering them to halt a layoff process, the court said on Monday.

State-owned SAA has been fighting for its survival since entering a form of bankruptcy protection called “business rescue” in December.

The Labour Court’s decision earlier this month to side with two trade unions was a blow to the administrators who have said layoffs are necessary to avoid the airline being liquidated.

The administrators sought leave to appeal on the grounds that another court might make a different ruling. They said in a statement they would seek an urgent date for the appeal to be heard.

Job cuts are politically sensitive in South Africa, where unemployment is around 30 percent.

SAA, which has not made a profit since 2011, has received bailouts of more than 20 billion rand ($1.1 billion) over the past three years.

It is running low on cash after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to halt all commercial passenger flights and the government said it would not provide further funding.

SAA’s administrators are due to publish a business rescue plan by the end of the week, but they have said that in the absence of extra funding their preference is for a structured wind-down of the business.

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