NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

THE National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) said on Sunday it rejects any attempts by the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRP) at Comair to reduce salaries of employees.

“We reject attempts to extend the backward collective agreement,” said NUMSA general secretary Irvin Jim.

“We demand that from the 1st of January 2022 all employees will receive their salaries in full and will no longer be paid only 70% of their salaries.”

Comair, which operates scheduled services on domestic routes as a British Airways franchisee, resumed flights on 1 September 2021, after the service was suspended owing to Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

Jim said since signing the collective agreement in September 2020, employees have been earning only 70% of their salaries.

The business rescue practitioners have been in charge of the company since May 2020, even though at this point the airline is fully operational.

And they are reluctant to say when business rescue comes to an end.

“What is worrying is that a conversation has been started in the company to extend the practice of paying only 70% salary for next year in January and beyond, particularly for the Comair stations based in Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) East London, and George (PEG),” said Jim.

“The BRP’s issued a section 189 in July this year and in it, they are threatening to move workers at the Port Elizabeth

(Gqeberha) East London, and George (PEG) airports from permanent employment with benefits, to making them contract workers and paying them an hourly rate with no benefits. PEG workers will remain on 70% salary indefinitely and they will not receive any benefits in the form of medical aid and provident fund.”

Jim added: “It is our firm view that the business rescue practitioners are milking Comair – they cost on average one million rand per month according to Comair management.”

“They are making a fortune whilst employers are sinking into debt and despair because their standard of living has been drastically reduced.

“It is time for the business rescue practitioners to go. It seems the only reason that they have overstayed is to keep creditors away.”

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