Kenya Airways sacks striking engineers

Kenya Airways engineers,KQ
A section of Kenya Airways engineers during a press conference on Thursday.

Kenya Airways has fired 140 employees from its technical department who have been staging a two day go slow pushing for higher pay.

The national carriers issued the dismissal letters to the group on Wednesday evening after issuing three warning letters urging the employees to return to work.

The striking engineers and technicians are a fraction of the over 600 employees who make up the technical department.

The go slow started on Tuesday with the engineers failing to work on aircrafts in the hangers for repairs and maintenance forcing Kenya Airways to let them go.

“Three warning calls were issued to the striking staff yesterday. As at 3 pm this afternoon none of the striking employees had heeded to this warning.  Left with no other choice management has taken necessary action,” Kenya Airways chief executive director Sebastian Mikosz said.

Kenya Airways’ technical department has suffered major exits with staff being poached by Middle East carriers over the past two years.

According to Mr Mikosz, Kenya Airways lost about 80 engineers and technicians between January 2016 and February this year.

The technical department had earlier in the year staged a strike which saw the airline’s management increase salaries from March.

Kenya Airways claims technical assistants salaries were increased from Sh120,000 to Sh200,000 while production engineers saw the salaries increased to Sh340,000.

The same group had been pushing to have salaries raised to Sh340,000 and Sh1.2 million respectively.

Affected employees have not taken kindly to the sacking, accusing the CEO of high handedness in dealing with the salary review issue claiming 200 have been sacked over the go slow.

“It is a chilly reality that our employer has decided to separate with us. We have tried to engage our management led by the CEO from July with the figures we proposed that he should pay the maintenance staff. A lot of engineers have left KQ for the Middle East. What kind of a management is this that cannot engage its staff?” an engineer said during a press conference on Thursday.

The dismal letter from the human resource departments indicates that affected employees will be entitled to salary and applicable allowances up to November 29, accrued leave days as well as the airline’s and individual contribution to the pension scheme.

Additional reporting by Sophie Kinoti

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