Gov’t orders KQ pilots to call off planned strike

Gov't orders KQ pilots to call off planned strike

The government has now called for the immediate withdrawal of the strike notice by KALPA terming it as economic and national sabotage.

In a statement to newsrooms, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary, Dr James Macharia, has further threatened legal action against those who will defy this directive.

While insisting that KALPA did not follow due process in this specific strike notice, the CS has accused the union and its members of seeking personal and individual gains.

“Neither negotiation nor mediation options were sought by KALPA,” read the statement in part.

The CS affirmed the government’s commitment to the airline’s turnaround strategy, dubbed “Operation Pride”, saying that they are confident and supportive of the initiatives in this strategy.

While hinting major changes in the airline’s management and board positions, the CS intimated that they were “systematically recruiting new talent for key management and board positions.

Early Thursday, October 13, the Kenya Airways Board had threatened to stop selling tickets on its networks if the Kenya Airline Pilot Association (KALPA) does not withdraw its strike notice.

In a statement to newsrooms, the airline said the move will save them the costs associated with selling tickets and not carrying these passengers noting that the last industrial action by KALPA in April 2016 cost it 200 million shillings in revenues and cost in a single day, which KALPA did not pay for.

While maintaining that the threatened industrial action called for by KALPA is unjustified and uncalled for the board further argued that it also had no basis and was outside the scope of KALPA’s collective bargaining agreement.

On Wednesday, Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala, who also sits in a Cabinet sub-committee tasked with reviving the partly state-owned airline, says the pilots’ strike will further harm the airline.

The pilots’ union issued a seven-day strike notice on Tuesday, October 11 to press for the firing of the carrier’s Chief Executive, Mbuvi Ngunze, and the chair of its board, Dennis Awori.

They pilots say they lack confidence in the pair’s ability to drive its recovery.

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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