NUMSA Members to Picket at Comair Offices

The dominant union at Comair, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), has announced that it will picket outside the company’s offices to demand that CEO Glenn Orsmond be fired. NUMSA’s members are fed up with Comair putting profits before people, according to NUMSA. According to them, Comair’s operating certificate has been suspended indefinitely by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) due to safety concerns.

“Glenn Osmond’s aggressive cost-cutting initiatives have created an overworked and poorly compensated workforce, and as a result, safety standards have been compromised,” according to the Union.

According to the Union, “If Orsmond is permitted to stay in his position, there will be no airline to protect, and at least 1300 people will lose their jobs. We demand that he be fired so that the airline can survive. We demand that the board choose someone with a long-term vision for turning the airline around, as well as someone who can intervene quickly to improve safety and reassure the SACAA, allowing the airline to resume operations. Members will picket, and the press will be invited.”

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While SACAA acknowledges Comair’s efforts “to correct the findings as quickly as possible” and that corrective action had been taken in some cases, other findings had not been addressed by early Sunday morning, prompting the suspension of its air operator certificate, according to a statement released on Sunday.

The suspension comes after SACAA visited Comair to examine and discover the cause of a string of incidents involving “a disturbing number of flights operated by Kulula.com and BA Comair.”

“The SACAA wanted to make sure Comair was following all applicable Civil Aviation Regulations” (CARs). The inspection also included a review of Comair’s quality control management system (QCMS) and safety management systems (SMS) in order to determine compliance with reporting, analysis, and follow-up on occurrences, as well as corrective action plans to avoid recurrence, according to the civil aviation authority.

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Three Level 1 findings and one Level 2 finding were made by the regulator.

A Level 1 discovery is one that poses an urgent threat to safety and security and must be resolved right away, whereas a Level 2 finding must be resolved within seven days. According to the SACAA statement, the corrective action and evidence supplied in relation to one Level 1 finding were approved.

The agency claims it does not issue such directives lightly and is dedicated to restoring full service to Comair planes as quickly as feasible. However, in this situation, the commitment to safety “supersedes any other need, and this is to ensure that South Africa retains its safety record of zero fatal aviation accidents on South African soil in over thirty years.”

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“The lives of our aviation staff and users of civil aviation services are vital, and the regulator does not take this obligation lightly,” it continues.


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