Court keeps pilots circling over planned strike

April 27, 2016
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The order blocking the strike remains in force until an inter-partes hearing on May 9/FILE
The order blocking the strike remains in force until an inter-partes hearing on May 9/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – The High Court has blocked a planned strike by pilots following an urgent case lodged by Kenya Airways.

The order blocking the strike remains in force until an inter-partes hearing on May 9.

“An interim order be and is herby granted restraining the respondents, its members, agents, servants and or sympathisers from calling, participating or engaging in any form of industrial action,” Justice Nduma Nderi directed.

Kenya Airways had further asked the court to disallow KALPA from issuing media statements or making any public announcements touching on the affairs of the airline until the suit was heard and determined.

KALPA was asked to respond to the application within 10 days.

On Tuesday, KALPA issued a 48-hour strike notice calling for the resignation of the Kenya Airways Managing Director Mbuvi Ngunze.

The association had threatened that no aircraft would operate on Thursday without Ngunze’s resignation.

KALPA accuses the KQ boss of mismanagement citing that Ngunze is inexperienced and lacks capacity to bring the airline back to recovery.

Among the issues raised by the association include revenue loss, questionable recovery strategies that include selling its most valuable assets in a bid to get back to profitability.

“KQ has already sold two out of the four Boeing 777-200 at throwaways prices, they have also sold the highly valuable slots into London Heathrow Airport and proceeded to lease some unfavourable slots from KLM,” Gichinga said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

He says London accounts for 10 percent of KQ revenue with the sale of the prime slots; it will take more than a miracle to maintain the revenue stream.

The association also faults the KQ mismanagement for missing their revenue target by Sh50 billion in the year ended March 2015 and is pessimistic that airline will recover from its Sh25.7 billion 2014/15 loss.

Earlier the management had announced that at least 600 KQ employees will from May this year be declared redundant or be redeployed elsewhere.

The management said the staff rationalisation is aimed at cutting costs and help the ailing airline succeed in its turnaround journey.

The exercise will affect various departments and all cadres of staff, with details of positions and specific staff to be affected being worked on and released later.

Staff to be affected have been assured that the redundancy process will be in full compliance with labour laws, Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) and individual staff members’ contracts as appropriate.

Staff rationalisation is one out of the 10 exercises being taken by the management to revive the national carrier which has consistently recorded billions of losses.

In the full year 2015, KQ posted a further net loss of Sh25.7billion from a net loss of Sh3.3billion in 2014, representing a 661 percent drop.

The management attributed the loss to volatility of exchange rates, intense competition especially from Middle East carriers as well as terrorism that led to travel advisories.

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