Ricochet News

Comair says NUMSA strike at British Airways averted, contingencies remain in place

Dec 13, 2018
Comair says NUMSA strike at British Airways averted, contingencies remain in place

Comair, which operates British Airways in South Africa and low cost airline, kulula.com, has confirmed that a strike planned by the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA)-affiliated ground staff for Thursday, cannot go ahead legally.

The airline company believes the mutual interest dispute is resolvable and approached the CCMA to assist in reaching a resolution between the two parties.

Wrenelle Stander, executive director – airline division explains: “NUMSA may only embark on a legal strike once the CCMA has mediated and the parties have still failed to reach a resolution.”

The CCMA confirmed this evening, Wednesday, 12 December, that it could not hear the parties until January 2019.

In addition, NUMSA had also put wage demands to Comair, however, does not have a certificate to strike on this issue at this time.

“We are relieved that our customers’ travel plans are unlikely to be disrupted over the festive season. We will continue to engage the union to resolve both issues,” says Stander.

“We have contingency plans in place to minimise any disruptions in the unlikely event of a strike and will keep these plans in place until we are confident the situation is resolved.

“Comair is proud of its reputation as a top employer. We are committed to trying to settle these issues in the interests of our employees and customers,” Stander says.

NUMSA strike at British Aiarways

Comair said that NUMSA is engaging Comair on two issues: (i) Mutual Interest Dispute; and (ii) a pay dispute.

The company had applied to the CCMA to assist in reaching a resolution on the Mutual Interest Dispute. The CCMA has now confirmed it can only accommodate the parties in January.

"A strike next week based on the issues in the Mutual Interest Dispute would be unprotected," Comair said.

"NUMSA does not have a licence to strike about the issues in the pay dispute. Consequently, a pay strike would be illegal." 

NUMSA’S POSITION - Mutual Interest Dispute

  • An Agency Shop Agreement, requiring non-union members to pay monthly union dues;
  • A shift-pattern change for airport ground staff and;
  • A salary discrepancy dispute.

Comair’s position – Mutual Interest Dispute

  • The company will only engage with the union about an Agency Shop Agreement, once NUMSA represents more than 65% of airport staff. NUMSA currently represents 52% of these employees.
  • The proposed shift-pattern change is inefficient, costly and detrimental to employees as it will result in a loss in individual income: less hours = less pay.
  • The salary discrepancies relate to a handful of employees and can be justified. Measures are in place to address these.

NUMSA’s position – pay dispute

  • Salary increase of 12%
  • Guaranteed 13th cheque
  • Travelling allowance
  • Additional shop stewards
  • Shift allowance to be 15% to basic salary
  • Daily overtime allowance

Comair’s position – pay dispute

  • Currently being negotiated.

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook.