A Kulula aircraft operated by Comair. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
A Kulula aircraft operated by Comair. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

JSE-listed Comair, which operates British Airways (BA) in SA and low-cost carrier Kulula, says it is putting measures in place to ensure flights go ahead as scheduled despite a looming strike by staff.

On Tuesday, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) issued Comair with a strike notice, allowing its airport ground staff members to strike from Thursday afternoon — ahead of the busy long weekend.

This follows a deadlock between Comair and Numsa about a salary discrepancy dispute. Comair said about a third of its 2,200 airport ground staff are Numsa members, although the dispute “centres on 21 personnel” whose salaries are higher than their colleagues’ for historical reasons.

The company said it has approached the Labour Court for an urgent interdict to prevent the strike.

“Comair has a comprehensive contingency plan in place and intends to continue its daily operations,” it said on Tuesday evening.

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“We will do everything possible to keep customers informed and minimise the impact of any strike action,” said Wrenelle Stander, executive director for Comair’s airline division.

“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,” Stander said.

Meanwhile, the company is “open to ongoing engagement with Numsa”, but Comair is “unable to support Numsa’s demand to increase the salaries of the rest of the 683 employees in the bargaining unit to match the highest of the 21 ‘outlier’ salaries”.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za