Strike on the cards for Comair

2015-01-24 12:02

A strike certificate has been issued to Solidarity after salary negotiations with Comair broke down.

“A dispute has been declared because the salaries of the cabin crew has been calculated on their basic salary only and not on employees’ total cost package since 2011,” Solidarity’s professional industry head Johan Botha said today.

He said the cabin crew’s basic salary constituted only 53% of their total cost package, and they were demanding a 12.3% increase on the total package.

Solidarity represents 210 members of the 389-member cabin crew.

“In terms of the employer’s latest salary offer, employees would either receive an increase of 7.5% on their total cost package, or an increase of eight percent on condition that overtime would only be calculated after 125 hours per month,” said Botha.

“This would mean that employees would have to fund their own increase by forfeiting on overtime pay.”

He said the employees wanted to avoid a strike, but that since September last year it had been unsuccessful in negotiations with Comair.

The union in December referred a dispute to the Commission for Conciliartion, Mediation and Arbitration.

The CCMA compelled Comair to continue negotiations with Solidarity and talks resumed on January 22.

“Solidarity is party to a cooperation agreement with Comair in terms of which negotiations on behalf of members would be undertaken collectively,” said Botha.

He said Comair’s financial position has strengthened since 2012 and the company was in a position to grant them a favourable increase.

“We believe our members are now entitled to a firm increase to enable them to catch up with the backlog built up over the past three years.”

The backlog referred to an agreement signed in 2012 in which the cabin crew agreed to not receive an increase in the first year as the company was battling finanically.

“By our calculations, our members should receive an increase of at least 12.3% on their total cost package to compensate for the backlog,” said Botha.

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