Nationwide employees face financial woes

Employees of Nationwide have been left financially stranded because of technical issues surrounding the liquidation of the airline, the United Association of South Africa (Usasa) union said on Wednesday.

Uasa divisional manager Andre Venter said the difficulties arose because the Nationwide group consists of four subsidiaries, of which only one is under application for liquidation at present.

“Although three of the four ... have not applied for liquidation yet, their employees have been sent home as well,” said Venter.

He said the workers from Nationwide Support, Nationwide Maintenance and Nationwide Charter now find themselves in a dilemma because they cannot apply for benefits.

They technically still remain employed by these subsidiaries, said Venter.

The liquidator, Tshwane Trust, met unions and former employees in Johannesburg on Wednesday to discuss the way forward and complete formalities such as Unemployment Insurance Fund applications.

Venter said the employees from the subsidiaries also have financial responsibilities such as medical aid, home loans and vehicle finance. “[However,] their creditors are getting anxious and would not accept media reports and letters from the liquidators to restructure their debt.”

He said Uasa’s preferred liquidator, Commonwealth Trust, will lodge a formal application with the Labour Department to make an exception and pay out the UIF grants of all affected Nationwide employees before the whole process is completed.

[This will be] an interim measure to help these workers survive,” he said.

Nationwide Airline announced on April 29 this year that it had ceased operations until further notice.

“Our cash flow has become critical and as a result have decided to voluntarily cease all flight operations until further notice,” said chief executive Vernon Bricknell at the time.—Sapa

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