Comair operations to continue despite Numsa talks deadlock

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

The airline said that there are contingency plans in case of potential industrial action, but are disappointed that a settlement could not be reached with the union.

Comair’s operations will continue, after talks with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) again deadlocked on Saturday, the airline said.

“Comair again met with Numsa today [Saturday], but could not reach agreement with the union,” Comair said in a statement.

The Labour Court last week reserved judgment in the case, and interdicted a strike by about 300 ground staff. Failure to reach an agreement now meant that the parties would have to wait for the Labour Court to grant a final judgment on Comair’s application for an interdict against a potential strike.

Screenshot of an SMS sent to Comair passengers on Saturday. Image: Supplied

“We are disappointed that a settlement could not be reached with the union. However, we have comprehensive contingency plans in case of potential industrial action,” Comair executive director – airline Wrenelle Stander said in the statement.

“These include employees from around the business volunteering to assist at airports, pro-actively contacting customers to facilitate check-in and providing additional fast-bag-drop counters,” she said.

Comair’s call centre was open and customers with urgent enquiries could call 011-921-0222 for British Airways or 086-158-5852 for Kulula. Comair operates kulula.com and all British Airways flights in South Africa.

Numsa served Comair with 48-hour notice to strike on Tuesday over wage discrepancies. The strike was to begin on Thursday at 1pm across all airports, which would have caused major disruptions to the airline’s operations heading into the busy Easter weekend.

The dispute between the union and the airline relates to salary anomalies for at least 21 employees hired prior to 2009 who are being paid higher than the agreed salary scale. Numsa represents just over 50 percent of Comair’s 700 airport ground staff out of a total staff complement of 2,200.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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