, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 19 – The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) is now seeking government intervention to refrain Kenya Airways (KQ) from retrenching 10 pilots.
KALPA Secretary General Captain Ronald Karauri says they have already written to the Ministry of Labour to have the matter resolved.
“We have not stopped talking but I think we now need intervention from the government. We have already written to the Ministry of Labour and we are awaiting their intervention then we sit down and talk,” Karauri told Capital FM Business on Thursday.
He says KALPA is aggrieved by the manner in which KQ issued the notice adding that it was so sudden despite the talks that were ongoing between the two parties on the matter.
“You know before they issued the letters, we were discussing. So they did it unilaterally; they suddenly just issued letters. Some pilots were even on flights coming back, only to find letters,” he says.
However Kenya Airways has maintained that it is not sacking the pilots but sending them home on retirement basis.
KQ says the senior pilots; all between ages of 62 and 65 have been employed by the airline for several decades and are expected to retire with full benefits.
“The 10 pilots were all set to retire in the near term and the notice letters were issued as part of the reduction in the B777-200 fleet in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed between KALPA and Kenya Airways,” read a statement from the airline.
KALPA on the other hand argues that some of those being retired are not yet of age.
The national airline says it is however in continuous engagement with KALPA in regards to the possible fallout following issuance of early retirement notices to the pilots.
“Kenya Airways remains keen finding a speedy resolution on this matter and will continue to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship with the union,” KQ said.
The move by the airline which made a net loss of Sh10.4 billion in the half year ended September 2014 is seen as one of the measures to cut its cost.
READ: Turbulent half year punches hole in KQ bottom line
The firm spent Sh15.3 billion on its staff for full year ending March 2014 up 18.3 percent compared to Sh12.9 billion in the previous year.