ABOUT 636 former staff members of the liquidated national airline, Air Namibia, have approached the Labour court in an attempt to compel the liquidators to pay their severance packages, amounting to N$105 million.
The former employees only received their 12-month salaries, totaling about N$278 million.
The matter will be heard on 17 November. It is reported that Air Namibia’s liquidation account does not have enough money to pay the parastatal’s former employees.
State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister, Leon Jooste, today says the liquidators are still selling Air Namibia assets, to make available the severance packages as well as creditors’ payments. “Everything seems to be running according to normal procedure. Air Namibia is under full formal Liquidation and the Government as shareholder has no further role to play,”Jooste stated.
Queried whether or not Government is considering an offer by a South African airline to purchase Air Namibia, Jooste says It is up to the liquidators to decide whether such an offer will be considered or not. The airline, BDS Airways’ offered N$ 3.2 Billion to the liquidators, Ian Mclaren and David Bruni.
Asked whether the Namibia Airports Company (NAC),Air Namibia’s biggest creditor, could be allowed to buy the now defunct airline, Jooste had this to say: “NAC has the same opportunity as any other person or entity to buy assets from the liquidation. If they see an asset of strategic value and have the required funds available, they will be more than welcome to make such a purchase. This is not something that requires shareholder approval and falls comfortably under the authority of the Board of Directors,”Jooste states.
“We are still waiting for our severance pay to be paid. The Labor Act is clear that on or before the last working day, the severance pay needs to be paid. The Government is responsible for our severance packages but now they are transferring the issue to the liquidators, which basically means we have to wait until the entire liquidation process is finished before we get any packages,”Renier Bougard, a former Air Namibia employee said.
Government did not show up at the last Labour Court hearing.