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Wage negotiations between NUMSA and Comair reach another deadlock

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The wage negotiations between NUMSA and Comair that took place over the Easter weekend have reportedly reached a deadlock.

The negotiations on wage disparities between the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Comair Limited, which operates Kulula and British Airways, has reached another deadlock. On Tuesday, 23 April 2019, the union reported that the long wage talks that took place on Thursday, 18 April and Saturday, 20 April 2019, had produced no solutions. NUMSA is unhappy about salary discrepancies at the airline and has proposed that management increase wages of those who are affected by the gap, saying that they want uniformity in salaries as the employees are doing the same work.

“Comair again met with NUMSA today [Saturday, 20 April 2019] but could not reach agreement with the union,” Comair said in a statement.

The dispute relates to salary anomalies for 21 employees hired prior to 2009 who are being paid above the agreed salary scale. NUMSA represents about 50 percent of Comair’s 700 airport ground staff out of a total staff complement of 2 200. Last week, workers tried to go on a strike but were successfully interdicted by Comair at the Labour Court.

In a statement, NUMSA’s spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said that Comair was not taking the issue seriously.

“Comair management is not taking this problem seriously. Numsa has given a very clear direction about how they can fix this situation over a reasonable period of time. They refused. Their proposal will worsen the problem and result in the wage gap being widened for the lowest paid workers,” Hlubi-Majola said.

She commended the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) for its efforts in trying to resolve the dispute and noted that NUMSA was expecting the Labour Court to supply it with reasons for granting Comair a temporary interdict against the strike.

“We will be meeting Comair management again soon. We hope that when they return to the negotiating table, they will demonstrate that they genuinely care about resolving the crisis which they created,” she added.

Abenathi Gqomo
[email protected]

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