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Naikuni stays mum before MPs’ probe team

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – In a fresh twist to the on-going Kenya Airways (KQ) retrenchment saga, the airline’s management finally made an appearance before the remained tight-lipped on the matter, while appearing before

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Titus Naikuni says that divulging information would amount to contempt of court as the case is due back in court on Friday.

“The matter is in court. The legal advice is that if we discuss the matter here it will be prejudicial. I will not do anything to jeopardise our position in court,” he told the Committee.

The retrenched KQ staff moved to court to block the exercise, saying that the airline’s management did not follow the right procedure in laying them off.

The Committee said the CEO was being misadvised by his lawyer Kiragu Kimani of Harrison & Matthews law firm, who was present during the hearing and subsequently kicked out by the Committee.

KQ Chairman Evanson Mwaniki pled with the Committee to grant the airline’s management another hearing as they consult further.

Committee Chairperson Sophia Abdi Noor obliged to the request however said that another hearing would be subject to approval by the Speaker of Parliament and the House.

“We are very disappointed. This matter was very simple to get your position. We had a time frame from Parliament to give our report. We do not whether we can give you the time,” she said.

The Labour Committee is set to meet with the full KQ board on Thursday next week before it tables its report in Parliament.

The Ministry of Labour has completed investigations on the retrenchment process at the airline and will produce a final report before the Labour Committee soon.

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The report is to reveal the actual number of retrenched staff, whether KQ decided to outsource some of its core business, the airline’s profits and a detailed account of the retrenchment exercise.

The Labour Ministry declared the recent retrenchment at KQ as illegal and termed the exercise as “cruel and barbaric.”

It said the “hurried” implementation process saw some employees released from the airline on voluntary early retirement, when they had not opted for it.

According to the airline, 21 percent or 126 of the estimated 600 members of staff that left the company, volunteered to take up the company’s layoff package, which was an estimated average payout of up to Sh2 million.

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