The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) at Comair have agreed to immediately reinstate medical aid contributions for employees.

The union said the agreement was reached after its threatened to take legal action the  reneging of an agreement with employees to continue with the contributions.

“Last week Monday the BRPs told employees that the company would no longer be making any more contributions, from September 1,” the union said in a statement on Monday.

“Furthermore, Comair has not paid employees their salaries since June 1 after it imposed unpaid leave on employees. Workers have had to depend on the temporary employee relief scheme (Ters), which does not cover their salaries in full.”

The union met attorneys at the weekend and it was then confirmed that Comair would be reinstating the medical aid for August, September, October and November.

If the proposed business rescue plan, scheduled to be voted on on September 18, is adopted, then post-commencement funding will cover the medical aid contribution until the end of November.

The union said it had decided to withdraw its urgent application from the labour court.

“We will be meeting with management and the BRPs tomorrow to discuss salaries and to find a way forward in resolving that issue,” it said.

In the proposed business rescue plan, the practitioners want employees to waive the right to receive salaries until the end of November, and the union said this was something it was never consulted on.

“In terms of the Companies Act we should have been consulted, particularly as changes in the terms and conditions of employment can never be imposed by management. We want to find solutions but if the engagement fails, we do not rule out returning to court in order to enforce our rights,” added Numsa.

Comair, which had been unable to operate from March 26 as a result of the lockdown, entered into voluntary business rescue on May 5.