‘Reckless’ comments will cause job losses – unions
Publish date: 07 November 2018
Issue Number: 262
Diary: Legalbrief Workplace
Comments from Government Ministers regarding the dire state of SA’s state-owned enterprises has raised the ire of unions. The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has hit out at Finance Minister Tito Mboweni for suggesting that the embattled state-owned airline SAA should be closed down. Business Day reports that speaking in New York last Thursday, Mboweni said he believed the loss-making national flag carrier should be closed down. SAA has recorded losses for about a decade and has run up a massive debt. It needs recapitalisation of close to R22bn over the next three years to turn it around. In the 2017-18 financial year, it made a loss of R5.6bn. Satawu, one of the major unions at SAA, described Mboweni’s statements as ‘irresponsible’. Satawu spokesperson Zanele Sabela admitted, however, that SAA has been making a loss for years.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the South African Airway’s CEO Jarana have moved to allay concerns following Mboweni’s comments, reports Eyewitness News. The airline's Jarana says Mboweni's comments have created panic in the market as well as among passengers and investors. Gordhan told SAA staff that the airline has a good reputation which is worth saving. However, he has also urged workers to work harder to save the business.
The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) said Greenpeace was ‘reckless’ when it stated Mpumalanga – the site of many of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations – has the worst nitrogen dioxide air pollution across six continents. Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaign manager Melita Steele is quoted in The Times as saying: ‘It has been reported before that the Witbank area has the world’s dirtiest air‚ and now this analysis of high-tech satellite data has revealed that Mpumalanga province is the global number one hotspot for NO2 emissions.’ ‘If the power stations and coal mines are closed in Mpumalanga several towns including Witbank will become ghost towns‚’ Num Highveld secretary Tshilidzi Mathavha said. Num also criticised Greenpeace Africa for supporting the implementation of Independent Power Producers by Eskom.