Comair, who operates and manages British Airways and kulula.com in SA, says it is working to find a speedy resolution to the wage dispute with Numsa.

Johannesburg - South African airline Comair Limited said on Friday that it was working around the clock to find a speedy resolution to the wage dispute with the National Union of Metalworkers Union of SA (Numsa).

This is after Numsa this week announced that workers were preparing to go on strike at international airline Comair from next Thursday over a 12 percent wage demand and other basic conditions of employment. 

Comair operates and manages British Airways and kulula.com in South Africa. The company employs around 2 200 workers, among them 750 as airport staff. 

Numsa is demanding a guaranteed 13th cheque as the lowest paid worker earns R9 000 per month, a travel allowance, daily overtime allowance, a shift allowance to be 15 percent of basic salary and additional shop stewards. 

If the strike goes ahead, the public will be hugely inconvenienced during what is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year and which will also hurt Comair's profits. 

The airline had requested the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) mediation under section 150 of the Labour Relations Act, and had said that Numsa's strike could not go ahead legally as the CCMA was unable to hear the dispute between parties until January 2019.

In a statement, Comair said the current situation with Numsa was not ideal, but moved to assure customers that the airline was working around the clock to ensure minimal disruptions to their travel plans. 

"We remain committed to engaging with Numsa to reach a resolution in the best interests of all our stakeholders. The CCMA has worked hard to secure a Commissioner to mediate this matter and have now confirmed the 20th of December 2018, as opposed to January 2019 for this mediation. Comair welcomes this development," it said.

"Comair’s number one priority will be the safety and the security of its employees and customers. During this time, we will be communicating with our customers using multiple channels including email, SMS, our websites and social media platforms."

In addition, Comair said its contingency plans has been put in place, including calling as many customers as possible 72 hours before departure to facilitate check-in, providing additional bag-drop counters, and roping in employees from across the Comair business who have volunteered to assist over this busy period.

African News Agency/ANA