The fate of Comair lies in employees’ hands today as they vote on whether to accept the BRP’s suspensive condition, which asks employees to relinquish their claims for salary payments while the airline has been grounded and take what is alleged to be a 30% pay cut. The business rescue plan also outlines the need for a further 400 job cuts to streamline the airline back to profitability. If employees do not vote in favour of the BRP conditions, the airline will be wound down, say the BRPs.
On September 18, the Comair business rescue plan was adopted by 90% of creditors and shareholders in a vote. However, the implementation of the plan is contingent upon a majority of employees (more than 50%), through their representative unions, concluding a collective agreement outlining amended terms of employment.
While employees were initially given a deadline of 16h00 on September 23 to cast their vote, the BRPs have now offered an extension until 16h00 today to continue voting to satisfy the suspensive condition.
“We have been advised that Comair will be wound down if a majority of employees do not agree to the business rescue plan conditions by 16h00 today. Employees are being asked to forego any claim to salary payments while the airline was grounded and to take a 30% salary cut when the airline starts flying again. The BRPs will also cut a further 400 jobs,” said a source at Comair who did not wish to be named. She added that she hoped that employees and the unions would opt to save the jobs of 1 800 people that the airline would continue to employ if the plan was adopted.
“The investors are encouraged and humbled by the employee sentiment to save Comair and to secure their long-term employment. The investors believe the right thing to do is to further extend this deadline to 16h000 on September 25 to afford employees and unions the opportunity to reach agreement on the Collective Agreement (including a waiver). The investors would be unable to extend the deadline after 16h00 on September 25, as this would hinder the company’s ability to commence flying operations as planned in December 2020,” said Comair in a statement sent to employees on Wednesday.