Comair, Numsa hit negotiation stalemate

By Sandile Mchunu Time of article published Jan 21, 2019

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DURBAN – Airline company Comair and the national union of metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have reached a stalemate regarding a salary dispute. 

Comair said on Friday that the working group of its representatives and Numsa had been unable to agree on a way forward with regard to the salary discrepancy dispute. 

However, the airline said it continued to act in good faith and is committed to an amicable and equitable resolution.

Wrenelle Stander, the executive director of Comair’s airline division, said Numsa’s claim that Comair personnel were paid R7 000 a month more than their colleagues on the basis of race was factually incorrect.

“We run our business with integrity, fairness and transparency. We have zero tolerance for racism or any form of discrimination. Numsa and Comair agreed on the number of outliers, which comprises 3 percent of the bargaining unit, as well as the reasons for these outliers. The outliers comprise South Africans of all race groups and gender. This information has been shared with Numsa,” Stander said. 

Comair said outliers referred to employees whose salary scales differed from other colleagues in the bargaining unit. The two parties agreed to set up a working committee to deal with wage discrepancies and shift patterns at Comair after reaching a deal to avert a strike under the mediation of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration last month.

Numsa said its members complained that there were unjustified wage gaps which are race-based. 

However, Comair said the salary discrepancies of the 21 affected employees range upward from R600, and in the instance of one employee R7 900. 

Comair added that while it was unable to support Numsa’s current stance to increase the salaries of the rest of the 683 employees in the bargaining unit to match those of the 21 outlier salaries, it remains willing to find ways to close the gap. 

Comair shares closed unchanged at R5.19 on the JSE on Friday.


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