ComairNews24 reports that whether Comair's and British Airways brands will be able to start operating again as from 1 December might be impacted by an urgent Labour Court application by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) on Thursday.  

The union wants the court to declare that Comair and its business rescue practitioners (BRPs) acted in a procedurally unfair manner regarding a section 189 retrenchment process which started on 27 October.  Numsa also wants the court to declare that its members are not bound by the terms of a collective agreement reached in late September between Comair, the BRPs, trade union Solidarity and a pilots' association.  Numsa wants the section 189 process to be withdrawn and a fresh notice issued.  It also does not want the collective agreement from September to be relied on.  The agreement provides for a reduction in workforce and for the section 189 consultative process to be shorter than the legally required 60 days.  But, Solidarity’s Derek Mans believes that Numsa’s insistence on the abolition of the collective agreement which exists between the airline and Solidarity might mean that Comair would lose its business rescue funding.  According to Mans, the collective agreement is part and parcel of conditions set by the Comair Rescue Consortium, which won the bid in the rescue process.  Mans asserts that Numsa’s court application is putting the company's ability to start operations in December at risk.  A spokesperson for the consortium said, because the matter is being heard by the Labour Court on Thursday, they are unable to comment until after the court has ruled.

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