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Kenya Airways allays strike fears

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – The management of Kenya Airways (KQ) has assured its passengers that its operations would not be affected by an intended workers’ strike next month.

KQ Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni said on Monday that they would continue to maintain their flight schedule to ensure that none of their clients miss or are late for their trips.

“We are yet to receive a formal notice (of the strike from the workers’ union).  We would like to assure all our passengers that we shall continue to maintain the highest levels of schedule integrity,” a statement from the CEO that was sent to the newsrooms said.

He was reacting to reports by the Aviation and Allied Workers Union (AAWU) that its members would go on strike on the August 11 to protest ‘unreasonable salary increments’ that have been awarded by the airline to other staff.

At a press conference early on Monday, the Union’s General Secretary Jimmy Masege said they would boycott work until their demands for a 150 percent pay rise were met.

“The management increased their pay package by 26 percent last year. Last week, they gave another union within Kenya Airways a 60 to 69 percent salary increment. While we are negotiating, they say they do not have money to pay anything except four percent,” he complained.

“The lowest paid person in KQ earns Sh8,000 so four percent translates into Sh320 which is not enough for anything,” Mr Masege protested.

The two parties started Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations on April 9 and ended them on July 24 with a view to review terms and conditions for the AAWU members.

KQ however argues that the management has so far awarded an eight percent increase on basic salary and all fixed allowances for the period under review, which have been rejected by the union representatives.

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The airline has since forwarded the disagreement to the Labour Ministry while the union claims it has issued a 21-day strike notice to the minister.

The union’s membership which covers Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and other carriers operating into and out of Kenya has approximately 5,000 of which 3,469 workers are from KQ.

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