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COTU demands the resignation of KQ Board, CEO, over maladministration

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – The Central Organization of Trade Union has demanded the immediate resignation of the board of Kenya Airways and its Chief Executive Officer, in a joint appeal with aviation workers citing maladministration.

In a joint briefing with the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, Kenya Aviation Workers Union,  COTU Assistant Secretary-General Ernest Nadome says that the move will pave way for investigations at the airline which has been sinking into losses since 2004.

“The investigative agencies such as Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Ethics and anti-corruption commission should come in because what is happening at KQ borders on corruption that the board should be able to explain,” said Nadome.

The trade union has also hinted at the possibility of downing its tools to stop the retrenchment process that has been taking place at KQ with the aim of reducing its wage bill and introducing new strategies to survive the pandemic.

“We cannot accept this as workers, as COTU we are ready to support the workers in any way even if its downing tools,” he added.

Kenya Airways has been engaged in a phased restructuring activity where it was targeting at least 1,500 workers in the exercise, aimed at cutting costs.

The decision has continued to receive opposition where employees were forced to take lump sum pay cuts since the company said it could not sustain the wage bill that is currently estimated at Sh1 billion monthly, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

“ KQ workers have taken deep pay cuts of between 70-80 percent, and they all accepted with the hope of keeping their jobs,” said Kenya Aviation Workers Union Secretary General Moses Ndiema.

On Friday, the National Carrier Kenya Airways said it may lose up to Sh70 billion or more in 2020, compared to the Sh12.98 billion losses it recorded in the 2019 financial year.

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Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka said the forecast has been influenced by disruptions caused by COVID-19.

KQ also released its half-year results for 2020 where it reported losses of up to Sh14.3 billion.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer Hellen Mwariri pegged the losses on reduced passenger traffic the airline has witnessed since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

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