Comair takes to the courts in attempt to halt Numsa's Easter strike

Comair - which operates Kulula and British Airways in SA - is in a rush to stop Numsa members striking ahead of the Easter weekend.
Comair - which operates Kulula and British Airways in SA - is in a rush to stop Numsa members striking ahead of the Easter weekend.
Image: Marianne Schwankhart

Comair said on Wednesday it would be heading to the Labour Court to stop some employees from downing tools ahead of the Easter rush.

Staff affiliated to the union National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) are expected to embark on a strike from 1pm on Thursday.

"Comair is continuing talks to try to find a mutually acceptable solution. However‚ in order to ensure a continuous operation for its customers over the busy Easter period‚ it has approached the Labour Court for an urgent interdict to prevent the strike‚" the company said.

The assured customers that flights would not be affected‚ saying it had contingency plans in place.

Executive director Wrenelle Stander said: "We will do everything possible to keep customers informed and minimise the impact of any strike action. We encourage customers to check in online or at the self-service kiosks at the airports and to drop their bags at the bag-drop counter. Employees from across the business have volunteered to help limit disruption."

Just over 700 of the airline's 2‚200 airport ground staff are members of Numsa.

The workers were reportedly downing tools over wage discrepancies.

According to Comair‚ Numsa's dispute centres on 21 personnel‚ comprising 3% of its bargaining unit‚ whose salaries differ from those of their colleagues – in one instance‚ R7‚900 more.

"These historic discrepancies arose from evolving airport operations‚ refinement of salary scales and retention initiatives as far back as 2009‚" the company said.

"Comair is unable to support Numsa’s demand to increase the salaries of the rest of the 683 employees in the bargaining unit to match the highest of the 21 'outlier' salaries‚" it said.

- TMG Digital

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