Aviation union demands KQ lift suspension of Gire Ali, worker who filmed Chinese plane arrival

Aviation union demands KQ lift suspension of Gire Ali, worker who filmed Chinese plane arrival
FILE PHOTO: A China Southern Airlines airplane arrives at the newly-built terminal 2 building at Tianjin airport, August 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

The Kenya Aviation Worker’s Union has demanded for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of the airline worker who was suspended for allegedly filming the arrival of a Chinese plane.

In a strongly worded statement signed by the union’s Secretary General Moss Ndiema, the union demanded that Mr. Gire Ali be reinstated by close of business Friday, February 28, 2020.

“We call upon you to lift his suspension unconditionally and reinstate him back to his duty immediately, an in any case not later by close of business, 28th February 2020,” said Mr. Ndiema.

Kenya Airways suspended Mr. Ali on Friday accusing him of exposing poor handling and management of passengers arriving from China on Wednesday.

In the suspension letter seen by Citizen Digital, Mr. Ali is castigated for allegedly video recording a China Southern Airlines plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.

KQ said the video was widely circulated on social media and his alleged involvement in the matter led to his suspension on February 27, 2020.

The Aviation Worker’s Union said Mr. Ali was acting out of “good faith” and “national duty.”

“It is therefore foolhardy for management to trivialize such a critical and monumental health catastrophe of global concern by victimizing an employee whose action of alleged involvement in the circulation of the video clip was purely borne out of good faith and the need to fulfill an ordinary’s citizen’s national duty of care to inform the public and the world of a possible health threat,” read the statement.

The letter signed by Chief Human Resources Officer Evelyne Munyoki, also ordered Mr. Ali to avail himself to the investigating team, his manager and any other person in authority.

Mr. Ndiema warned the national carrier of victimizing Mr. Ali.

“Management should desist from victimizing him for this alleged offense. If there is any offense committed, please engage due process and issue him with a show cause letter in accordance with the disciplinary procedure and Collective Bargaining Agreemet (CBA).”

The suspension letter elicited uproar on social media with lawyers vowing to represent Mr. Ali in court.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. said the move by Kenya Airways to suspend Mr. Ali would not stand in court.

“This order will be reversed by any court. Public interest is more important than management interests,” he said on Twitter.

Lawyer Ekuru Aukot said he had cancelled a flight he had reserved with Kenya Airways to Kigali.

As a platinum member with the SkyTeam that includes Kenya Airways, I have cancelled my ticket to Kigali because of KQ‘s conspiracy to endanger lives of 47 million Kenyans. Gire Ali is a patriot who exposed #coronavirusInkenya. He should be rewarded. Not suspended.”

Aukot added: “Someone get me Gire Ali’s contacts. Once I get to Nairobi, happy to look for him. He needs to be defended by all Kenyans for the dangers of #coronavirusInkenya are dire! They threaten 48 million Kenyans currently relying on a weak health system.”

Former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale also castigated the national carrier saying:” Suspend Mr Gire Ali? He is a mere whistle blower. Now our hero. Kenya Airways, yours is wisdom of fools.”

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