About 5,000 employees are already on unpaid leave since the beginning of May this year.

According to the Reuters news agency, the aviation organiser at the Solidarity trade union, Derek Mans said the only money employees can expect this month will be that from the unemployment insurance fund.

Les Matuson and Siphiwe Dongwana said, “A leadership compact forum comprising the department of public enterprises and all the unions and non-unionised bodies at SAA proposed that there be pay cuts for the month of May,”

“However, SAA does not have sufficient funds available to pay salaries to all of its employees and, in fact, does not have sufficient funds to pay certain of its post-business rescue costs.”

The team rescuing the struggling airline initially wanted to fire the 5,000 staff.

However, that was halted by the labour court. The rescue team can now be allowed to appeal that ruling, according to the Independent Online website.

The South African Airways has been reporting losses for about a decade leading to its struggles in the past years.