Judgment reserved in Comair strike interdict, operations continue smoothly

The Labour Court reserved judgement in the matter of Comair’s application to interdict a strike by the National Union of Metalworker of South Africa on Thursday.

However, before the first day of the hearing was concluded, Numsa members could be seen demonstrating at OR Tambo International Airport's Charlie Gate and other locations as part of their industrial action.

Comair, which operates British Airways and kulula.com in South Africa, approached the Labour Court in a bid to interdict the strike after the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa served the company with 48 hours notice on Tuesday.

At the heart of the dispute are 21 personnel - 3% of the bargaining unit - whose salaries vary from those of their colleagues.

Comair’s executive director in the company’s airline division, Wrenelle Stander, told Fin24 that, as a ruling has not been made on the matter, the strike is considered interdicted until a judgement is handed down.

"Staff reserved the right to strike. Operations have continued uninterrupted and that happened before the judgement was made. So those who have been demonstrating during the course of the Labour Court hearing [on] the interdict will be expected to return to work," said Stander.

Stander said Comair had put its contingency plans into action on Thursday and that operations went swimmingly, in spite of the demonstrations by Numsa members. Stander had no disruptions to Comair's operations to report on the day.

Numsa acting spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola could not be reached immediately for comment.

On Tuesday, Numsa served Comair with notice of intention to strike over salary discrepancies that the company has been working to resolve for months. The union had planned to start striking on Thursday afternoon.


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