Management at Comair says it is relieved that the threat of a strike by trade union Numsa during the busy festive season has been averted following talks between the two at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration on Thursday.

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa said on Friday a working committee had been set up to deal decisively with wage discrepancies and shift patterns at Comair, after reaching a deal with the airline to avert a strike.

Numsa confirmed it had signed an agreement with Comair, after mediation from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

In a statement, it said one of the major sticking points, the issue of wage gaps between white workers and black workers who perform the same tasks, had been resolved.

The union will meet with Comair again early next month to deal with outstanding issues. It said Comair would provide information on the salaries of all employees in the bargaining unit, specifying race and gender in order to rectify discrepancies.

The union had threatened to strike over its demand for, among others, a salary hike of 12 percent, a guaranteed 13th cheque, wage parity, a travelling allowance and to increase the number of shop stewards at the airline, which services domestic routes for British Airways and also operates as a low-cost carrier under its own brand. 

Of the company’s 2 200 employees, 375 are Numsa members.

"Our members are satisfied with the intervention which has been made thus far and we will therefore no longer embark on a national strike as planned," spokeswoman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said.

"Numsa will continue to drive an agenda in the interests of the working class and for the improvement of their working conditions."

The CCMA has also scheduled a meeiting on January 11 in relation to the second dispute over wages and other demands such as travel allowances. 

African News Agency (ANA)