The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has issued Comair with a strike notice, allowing airport ground staff represented by NUMSA to strike from 13h00 on April 18. Just over 700 of Comair’s 2 200 airport ground staff are NUMSA members.

NUMSA’s bargaining unit of 683 employees are demanding their salaries be matched with 21 personnel with higher salaries.  Comair says it is unable to support NUMSA’s demand and adds that these salary discrepancies have arisen from evolving airport operations, refinement of salary scales and retention initiatives as far back as 2009.

Comair has a comprehensive contingency plan in place and intends to continue its daily operations while continuing talks with the union. However, to ensure continuous operations over the Easter period, Comair has approached the Labour Court for an urgent interdict to prevent the strike.

“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 possible disruption,” said Wrenelle Stander, Comair’s executive director – Airline Division.