Kenya Airways resumes some flights, calls for pilots’ applications

Kenya Airways has resumed flights within Africa and a trip to London as the pilot’s strike enters day three. The airline is also calling for pilots to apply for jobs in a move likely to see the sacking of those who have downed their tools.

According to the airline, there are 18 flights today alone. Nine of the flights depart from Nairobi to Addis Ababa, Entebbe, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka, Harare, Johannesburg, and London.

Today, the strike by KQ pilots got into its third day amid threats to sack the pilots. Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) announced the start of the pilot’s industrial action on Saturday, November 6.

388 pilots downed their tools after talks mediated by Transport and Labour Cabinet Secretaries, Kipchumba Murkomen and Florence Bore last Friday failed to yield any results. On Sunday, 33 pilots didn’t report to work.

Labour CS Florence Bore yesterday said the KQ management has the right to take disciplinary measures including dismissal against Pilots who have not reported to duty as per the company instructions and the Court Order.

“Take measures necessary to restore the normal operations of the airline,” she said.

In their notice today, KQ says all those interested in the pilot position should apply on or before November 18.

By Sunday, the strike had affected 56 flights, and 12,000 passengers and led to the rot of more than 300 tonnes of perishable commodities.

In a statement yesterday, KQ announced the resumption of six flights hours after KQ’s Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka gave pilots 24 hours to return to work.

“Kenya airways would like to confirm that the following flights are scheduled for today. The flights will cater for passengers who are already booked to travel,” reads the statement.

At the heart of the labour dispute is a decision by the airline management to halt provident fund contributions, which pilots allege violates a contract with all employees. The pilots further claim that KQ arbitrarily stopped employer and employee contributions beginning in 2020 and neglected to restart the retirement programme.

KALPA is also calling for the dismissal of KQ’s top management team, accusing the airline of mishandling the labour conflict by reportedly refusing to engage them in an effort to resolve the standoff.

KQ says this strike will cost approximately KES 300 million a day. In a week, this translates to KES 2.1 billion.

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