Comair and UASA reach settlement after weeklong strike by Airport Ground Staff

Comair and the trade union UASA has annonced that the parties have reached settlement after a weeklong strike by Comair’s Airport Ground Staff.

Over the weekend, Comair implemented a defensive lock-out of its airport staff, who have been on strike since Wednesday, 13 April 2016. On Monday, 18 April 2016, UASA the Union approached the South African Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for an urgent Section 150 intervention.

Both parties were open to amicably resolve the dispute and on Tuesday, 19 April 2016, the parties agreed to a wage increase of 10% in 2016, 7% in 2017 and 6% in 2018, a total of 23% over the three year period, effective 01 January 2016.

Airport ground staff are expected to report for duty on Thursday, 21 April 2016.

At the time of deadlock, the trade union’s demand was, was a 30% increase over 3 years, while Comair was offering an unconditional 7.5% increase for each of the three years (22,5% over three year period).

“We are pleased that we were able to resolve the wage dispute in a peaceful manner and we look forward to putting this behind us”, Erik Venter, Comair’s CEO, says.

Venter continues, “We thank those employees who have picketed, for doing so in a peaceful manner while they exercised their right to strike. Comair would also like to express its deepest gratitude to those airport staff who were scheduled and reported for duty over the last week. Likewise recognition goes to the volunteers from all over the business, who helped out at our airport stations, to ensure it was business as usual.”

“Our deepest gratitude to our customers for their understanding and who have heeded our call to check-in online in preparation for their departure. This has helped us tremendously to avoid disruptions”, Erik concludes.

Jannem Goussard, UASA’s spokesman, says; “The intervention from the Commissioner for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), played a significant role in bringing parties to a point whereby the impasse could be resolved. The experience of the CCMA is priceless in situations involving a break in the link between labour and management. Ultimately it was the decision of our members and Shop Stewards Committee to accept the Company’s offer, but certainly assisted by Commissioners with great expertise in deadlock situations”.

“We have committed to rebuild relationships with Comair Management and employees in general, and are extremely pleased with the manner in which the strike unfolded and ultimately came to an end”, Goussard concludes.

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