Pilots to boycott KQ flights from tomorrow as standoff continues

The standoff between Kenya Airways and pilots has escalated as the latter now planning to boycott all flights from Saturday, November 5.

Through their representative, Kenya Airline Pilot Association (Kalpa), the pilots have staged a go-slow demanding better working conditions from KQ management.

The Association had issued a 14-day strike notice on October 19, and as it turns out, no consensus has been reached.

“We had hoped that the management of the airline would soften its hard stance and engage in a negotiation on the issues raised. However, Kenya Airways management has not made any meaningful attempt to engage and have these issues resolved,” Kalpa CEO Muriithi Nyagah said.

The strike notice followed KQ’s decision to suspend contributions to the provident fund, which pilots claim violate a contractual agreement with all employees.

According to the pilots, KQ has unilaterally ceased both employee and employer contributions since 2020 and has failed to restart the retirement scheme.

Attempts to negotiate with pilots at a meeting attended by Central Organisation of Trade Union (COTU) boss Francis Atwoli on Tuesday fell through.

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka has asked pilots to call off their planned strike next week, calling it sabotage and a threat to the airline’s goodwill and support from customers, the government, and Kenyan taxpayers.

Allan said in a heartfelt letter to colleagues that the notice was ill-timed and unwise because the company was about to turn a corner.

“Is this the time to go on strike when the Airline is still relying on taxpayers’ support and goodwill? When we are on a recovery path? When all employees have made the necessary sacrifices and chosen to wait just a little bit longer to reap the full benefits of the sacrifices? When the Government of Kenya has made it clear that it cannot indefinitely continue to fund KQ during this challenging period? When we are beginning to gain the confidence of our passengers? Kilavuka posed.

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