, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 25 – More than 100 workers retrenched by Kenya Airways (KQ) held a peaceful demonstration in the centre of Nairobi on Tuesday to protest the rationalisation programme.
The workers claim that the KQ management did not follow proper procedures in laying them off.
“Workers were kicked out without the knowledge of the union. The company is expanding and requires additional workers. It is recruiting staff through an outsourcing company and laying off staff they currently have,” Jack Ojee, a retrenched KQ Cabin Crew member explained.
They further wondered why the airline was recruiting foreigners, who are often paid twice or three times the salaries of local staff.
The disgruntled staff protested that the retrenchment decision came despite a directive from the Office of the Prime Minister (PM) that the process be halted, to allow for more time for negotiations.
They argued that all options were not exhausted before they were sent home, adding that the retrenchment is discriminatory, unlawful, irregular and inhuman and a cover-up for corrupt deals.
The workers subsequently made another appeal to the PM’s Office concerning the slow response to their grievances.
“Our full benefits were restored by the court. We have not been paid this month’s salaries. We are not gaining access to the company’s medical facilities. We can’t access the company premise. The impunity that kicked us out is still being exercised,” Ojee said.
They have also requested the Labour Ministry to submit a report investigating the retrenchment process before KQ’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday.
Kenya’s Labour Ministry was to table an audit report of KQ’s accounts before the Industrial Court by this week showing whether the airline carried out the retrenchment exercise in line with the International Labour Organisation regulation and the Labour Act.