No negotiations, Kilavuka says as KQ announces pilot vacancies

Kenya Airways (KQ) has advertised for pilot positions even as the strike by the national carrier’s crew entered its third day on Monday.In a poster on its website, KQ said it is “looking for a qualified person to join our team for the position of pilot-captain”.

The Airline announced that it is also hiring a First Officer to support the pilot in command “so as to ensure the aircraft is operated per the conditions laid down in the airline’s operations manual.”

Speaking to the media on Monday, KQ Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka said only 20 pilots showed up for duty on Monday as another 130 claimed to be unwell.

“For those who have not come we have initiated disciplinary actions. We have advertised for jobs today,” Kilavuka said.

He added…

“We want pilots to go back to work immediately. There is no negotiation. They are trying to hold us, hostage, the longer they stay out there the longer we aren’t able to get money to pay them.”

The go-slow has already left many stranded and according to the Kilavuka, the airline is scrambling to find accommodation for some of its travellers.

“We have made a lot of effort to accommodate many passengers who are stuck here because they could not connect their flight. Unfortunately, the majority of the hotels in Nairobi are full and we are seeking alternative means of accommodation,” he said.

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.

Meanwhile, the National flag carrier today commenced flights within Africa and a trip to London. 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.

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