Thousands of passengers stranded as JKIA flights halted over workers strike


Thousands of passengers stranded as JKIA flights halted over workers strike

In Summary

  • KAWU is accusing the management of Kenya Airways (KQ) of financial wastage.
  • Through KAWU Secretary General Moss Ndiema, the union claims the airline continues to pay hefty salaries to senior managers and consultants.
  • The union further said that the payments made by the national carrier are a sign that the management is averse to financial prudency.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was on Wednesday at a standstill after the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) went on strike.

The workers are said to have downed their tools from midnight with fire engines withdrawn from the runway.

“Further to the strike by KAWU members, we expect disruptions on flights. Customers on flights after 11am are advised not to come to the airport until further communication is shared. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused,” Kenya Airways said.

Following the strike, JKIA has allegedly been downgraded from its Category 1 status as no flights have been cleared leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

On Wednesday morning, police engaged in running battles with the striking workers and lobbed teargas canisters to disperse them.

Some passengers were caught in the fracas that left six KQ staff members seriously injured.

The grounded JKIA flights have also affected operations at the Mombasa and Kisumu airports.

This follows a strike notice issued on the February 27, 2019, where the workers opposed the handover of management of the airport to Kenya Airways.

KAWU is accusing the management of Kenya Airways (KQ) of financial wastage.

Through KAWU Secretary General Moss Ndiema, the union claims the airline continues to pay hefty salaries to senior managers and consultants.

The union further said that the payments made by the national carrier are a sign that the management is averse to financial prudency.

The union further alleged that the airline increased salaries for its management in the previous year and retained seven Polish consultants despite obvious financial challenges.

“These people are here to loot. Why duplicate services that are already being offered by Kenyans,” said Ndiema.

This even as the Employment and Labour Relations Court on Tuesday March 5, 2019 issued an injunction suspending the strike.

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Story By Faizal Ahmed
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