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Aviation workers suspend Wednesday strike to allow talks

“We have agreed to suspend the strike in good faith because the CS has assured us of job security. We also want to give KQ and KAA an opportunity to engage,” said Ndiema/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – The Kenya Aviation Workers Union has suspended a strike that was set to start Wednesday to allow talks on a takeover of management of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Kenya Airways.

KAWU Secretary General Moss Ndiema told journalists that the Transport Ministry had assured them that there would be redundancies should the takeover succeed.

“We have agreed to suspend the strike in good faith because the CS has assured us of job security. We also want to give KQ and KAA an opportunity to engage,” said Ndiema.

The union last week issued a strike notice over fears that they will they will be rendered jobless after Kenya Airways takes over the operations and management of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport James Macharia however dismissed the claims, saying that the number of staff will actually increase and that workers’ rights will be protected.

“The proposed public private partnership between Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority does not foresee any redundancy. On the contrary, it is expected that staff numbers will grow from about 950 currently to over 3,000 during the concession period,” said Macharia.

Macharia said the model will not affect growth of either parties adding that the government is in full support of this arrangement.

According to the CS, this collaboration is aimed at creating operational synergies between Kenya’s main hub and the national carrier and also raise the JKIA status to be competitive in the global aviation industry.

“The Government of Kenya fully supports this PPP which aims at traffic growth for both companies and enhancing the status of JKIA to a super hub, a premier connectivity point for the African continent,” said Macharia.

He further said there will be no transfer of any assets to Kenya Airways.

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Other regional hubs will not be affected by this concession and they will continue to be managed by KAA.

“Adequate care will be taken within the framework of the transaction to ensure KAA is financially stable to run other airports effectively,” said Macharia.

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