Comair, the airline services company that runs operations on British Airways and Kulula, has been faced with the possibility of losing some of its staff to protest action on the start of a busy Easter weekend.
As reported by EWN, wage negotiations between the airline company and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have been deadlocked.
Comair strike: What motivated the protests?
In a statement issued by the airline, it revealed that the wage disputes originate from the “salary anomalies of 21 employees hired prior to 2009 being paid higher than the agreed applicable salary scale.”
“Numsa is only willing to consider increasing salaries for the entire bargaining unit to match those of the highest-paid ‘outlier’. Comair has made various proposals to bring the ‘outliers’ into the agreed salary band, all of which has been rejected by the Union.
“In addition, it offered a once-off goodwill payment to defer an outstanding basket of issues to align with our salary negotiation timeframes,” the airline company explained.
According to the trade union, Comair has blatantly ignored calls from its workers of a salary increase to match the level of work they put in,
Will the strike affect airline operations?
Numsa spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, warned that the strike would most certainly affect operations at the airline.
“We’ve had several meetings with the employer this year, where we’ve made proposals around this issue.
“Unfortunately, the management of Comair rejected our proposal. They’ve proposed that high earners be denied wage increases until the salaries of other workers catch up,” Hlubi-Majola explained.
Although the airline has insisted that the strike would not affect operations, it did state that it would approach the labour courts on Thursday, at 10:00, in an attempt to halt the protests.
“It is business as usual” – Comair
Despite this, airline crew members have vowed to stay away from work until the wage issue has been resolved.
Comair’s executive director, Wrenelle Stander, asserted that the protests would not force any of its aeroplanes to be grounded.
“The number of staff that could potentially strike is about 300 and Comair has a staff contingent of 2,200 people. SO we’re fairly confident that we will have continuous operations,” Stander stated.
If nothing changes before 13:00 then the Comair strike will continue as planned. Passengers have been assured that services will continue as normal.