Airline says it is doing its best to meet employment equity laws obligations

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana threatened to make an example of Comair in a speech last week, saying he may take the airline to court for not complying with employment equity laws.

According to Comair, this is despite significant effort on its part to satisfy the Labour Department that it is meeting its obligations.

Comair was one of six companies accused of being lax on employment equity by a Labour Department review.

"Only Comair has still not complied with the provisions of employment equity. Five others have since followed the department's recommendations and have recorded great improvements," Mdladlana told a Business Unity South Africa meeting in Johannesburg on Friday.

"In the case of Comair, I am informed that they say consulting with workers is a burden. I would not like to take them to court, but the lack of efforts on their side to comply leaves me with no option," Mdladlana said.

Asked to respond by Sowetan, Comair joint chief executive officer Erik Venter said: "Over the past five years, Comair has increased its representation of black employees from 29percent to 53percent, and employees from designated groups represent 79percent of the workforce. This is despite the general shortage of pilots in the industry, of which only 7percent are black.

"The company continues to seek clarity on meeting the legislative expectations of the Department of Labour in order to meet its requirements on this aspect of Employment Equity," he said.

Mdladlana warned Business Unity South Africa members that a legal crackdown on employment equity was coming, and that 33 more companies would be reviewed this year.

He urged employers to involve their workers in drafting Employment Equity Plans and their implementation.

"The consequences of failure to comply are grim. I have no option but to take non-complying employers to court," he said